Yesterday, Gwarlingo posted poems from Patricia Spears Jones. I particularly appreciate “What I Have Not Done for Love.” Find Gwarlingo’s write-up and more poems from Patricia Spears Jones here.
What I Have Not Done for Love
I have not torn my hair in a public place
Or worn a dress the size of a dime
Once I spoke in a French accent, but it sounded
I have not denounced my family
or let the back of my hand slap a cousin’s cheek
I have not found the perfect strand of pearls
Or made a gift of sudden beauty
I have yet to consult
the Fortune Telling Chicken
I admit a fondness Jack Daniels and Cosmopolitans
And the ease with which Arkansas wrecks my
my quick New York speech
On nights when stars brightly pattern the Brooklyn sky
I search for your hand and find a drift of wind.
Published on Rattle‘s website on January 17th, and from Rattle‘s Summer 2012 issue, Jennifer Givhan’s “An Editor Advised Me to Stop Writing Mother Bird Poems” came across my facebook newsfeed yesterday. In the face of tragedy, its sometimes quiet violence, its persistence, its constancy, its return, Givhan articulates what it means to live with and understand the threat of loss. In particular, I feel like she captures inevitability and the parent so well here–she says what we’re all thinking, why none of us can sleep.
Here are the final two stanzas:
They’ll find his body, sure.
The mother will mourn. Many of us will vow
never to let our children walk alone.
I will walk with my children
until they’re eighty. But then my boy will run
ahead in the mall, and I’ll lose him
for a split second. A split second.
It won’t matter how many poems
I’ve written or dinners I’ve cooked or baths
I’ve given. Except that it will.
As the peanut butter matters. The salt in the water.
The boy on the street, his too-large cowboy boots
forever walking home toward his mama.
His mama, forever on the porch,
searching the skyline for a hat.
Find the rest of the poem here.