April 15th poem

Friday, April 15, 2011


We're some kind of funny animals in this picture,
my pregnant mother in her flowered mini-dress
and me inside there, being a fetus.  When I think
of love I think "as if to weep" and also of the breaking
laugh my grandmother used to do.  You'd get her
going and she couldn't stop and couldn't stop. As if
to weep.  We lived for that sound.  That day I found
my mother on her bed, her eyes all red, looking
dissolved--  I was just scrawny and eight and back
from running stringy-haired around the neighborhood.
"Are you crying?"  "It's hay fever."  "Are you sure
you aren't crying."  "It's just hay fever."  That's when
the crying lodged in me.  My hair got thicker; I grew
six inches.  I started moving in circles, away from their
laps and back again.  That old joke about being
a daughter.  That helpless laughter.

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