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Posts Tagged ‘parents’

 

 

 

We sat around the oval kitchen table

and made hats out of ribbons

and paper plates, and we piled them high

with golden grapes and fake flowers.

I remember thinking how great, how magic it was

that something we’d use for dinner

transformed into something so elegant.

 

Today I stared hard at a paper plate,

as if I could return to that state of delight

and easy grace. Was this how Cinderella felt

when she gazed at the pumpkin the day

after the ball? Wondering if the magic

happened at all? Weighing the shape

of reality against her dream?

 

Yes, I tell myself, it was real,

the glittering fruit, the beauty I felt,

the laughter around the table.

And it was a dream, the way my parents

made it seem as if we had it all.

And when the clock struck midnight,

none of the magic left at all.

 

 

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We sat in the pew

furthest back in the church.

My father would hum all the hymns

 

and I’d lean closer to him and hum along,

then lean toward my mother

and sing with her the words—

 

I swayed between them like a metronome,

humming, then singing, then

humming, then singing.

 

How giddy I was, grateful to be the girl

between them. I did not yet know how

difficult it was to be a parent.

 

I only knew how good it felt

to be loved, how safe I felt between them,

how delighted I was to find in myself

 

some part of each of them,

so delighted that even now,

over forty years later

 

and a thousand miles away,

I remember that night

and begin to sway.

 

 

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They look so happy in black and white—

my mother with her short and fitted skirt

 

and my father, trim and handsome,

escaped from his tux.

 

They are running to my grandfather’s car,

the one they will crash that evening,

 

but at this moment, they are still

in innocent bliss, dodging the handfuls of rice

 

hurled at them by friends.

They are out of focus, a blur of joy,

 

running hand in hand right off

the ragged-edged pages toward

 

that aqua blue Ford convertible

and all the other colors life has to throw them.

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All these years
I have coveted
her egg poacher,
yolks perfect every time,
the one we first used
in the small kitchen
with the black and white
tiles and then in the bigger
kitchen with oak floors
and over thirty years later
in a kitchen
only an hour away
from my kitchen,
but today when
she offered me
that Oster egg poacher
as we packed
her other things
into boxes going with her
a thousand miles away,
I knew all
I really wanted
was for her to be the woman
poaching the eggs
those yolks
spilling gold
in a kitchen close enough
we might eat
our breakfast
together.

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I cannot find
the right way
to say goodbye
to you and so
I watch your car
drive away
and only
then say
the impossible
please
don’t go.

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In the other room I hear
my father snoring
and imagine how
he’s stood before
outside my door
and listened
to my tides of sleep
with, could it be,
as much love for me
as I have now for him—
his shore is my shore,
our heart sails
open.

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