Poem 142

thoughts on adoption

So graciously they came to flight

the hopeful helpless thunder feet

a wonder peril of sweetest destiny—

Hush the yellow breath of youth.

My mother was a dandelion;

a child of spring who—white tipped—

fall time scattered her loveliness a-gail.

& we were seed babies, the loneliest

of kinfolk. Trilling about in the southbound

winds, propellors. By night we

saught the dog star,

untangled leo’s mane,

unbuckled orion’s belt.

& we were happy—to be swept away

by high breezes / to root ourselves

amid gardens, beside blessed blooms

our hearts cracked open to reveal

a green gnawing to grow & like the mums

among us we were trimmed / pruned / fertilized.

But I wonder of my mother—a capricious weed.

If someday too I’ll flock my seeds

to be forgotten.

—ECW

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Poem 141

We overcame our mothers

when we were sixteen and without child.

I watched the summers flutter on

A luna moth counting myself lucky

to hit the bulb again and again

to fall away unscathed once more—

We overcame our mothers.

In the back truck-beds of red

Pick-up grinds, where we bade

The same prayers and were protected.

Then we grew up—suddenly,

I was tonguing baby names

Out of joy instead of dread.

I am grateful, for us, to be twenty

To be hopeful for our wombs

To be lovely and plump with miracle.

We overcame our mothers; I hardly

felt the triumph, barely knew the ruse

that when we overcame our mothers,

we lost the our sovereign youth

—ECW

Poem 23 Revised

When it meant something to have an ivy covered house, home

Was the yellow corners of my father’s family album

Worn down with recounting the birth of the youngest, at one a.m.

The death of their smallest, twelve minutes alive,

It was a memoir I hoped to write down in departure

traveling away from here, traveling anywhere

 

When it meant something to have an ancient surname, my house

held the left hand of my mother, the guiding light held tight

Through rooms I knew from her stories, in houses that belonged

to other people now; would see as we were passing through.

Here is where the chair sat that belonged to your grandmother

My mother was forever with her hand in mine, unwinding our family-lore.

 

I filed the grooves in my house key down to the gloss,

Lost the scent of my window boxes and potted flowers.

In the towers casting hand shadows in a window haze

In the crooked cobblestone margins where it meant something

To have an ivy covered house home

Is a moving target.

—ECW

Poem 23 Edited – Poem 23 Original