Monday, March 25, 2013

Swamp Magic

She slept like a tadpole face-down, infant knees
bent to kick, still swimming in the amnion.
My arms, blaming the lightness of air when new mothers
strolled by, now held a burden: 18 years.

After all my dreams, I was the innocent,
her mews a language more difficult than cats'.
At ten months she ripped rubber nipple from bottle, drank
milk like a beer-hound, at one year spoke: See da light!

Three years old, she belied the Monet mood of dimity dress
and bonnet I'd sewn, instructing me never to hit. Bit by a dog 
at six, cheek bearing ten stitches, she fended off questions:
I'd rather not say. We called her Sarah Bernhardt.

Her twelfth birthday wish, the complete works
of Shakespeare, foretold the drama of her teens.
What could we talk about? I was brought up to behave,
bewildered by a frog princess who could be heard for miles.

A ring-tongued, Mohawked Tarot reader, a hefty bike babe,
she teaches me computer skills, and I accommodate the real.

(This poem is featured in my collection Time Warp)

1 comment:

Matt D said...

It's a wonderful character sketch.

We're giving just tiny little facts at each stage, but by the end of the poem, we feel we know so well the girl in the poem. She's so real.

What an excellent poem!