Monday, March 9, 2009

Front and Center

1.Immortality In Vermont in 1953

where the TV station
had a program for kids,
Freddy Freihoffer’s Breadtime tales,
one guy with an easel who drew
Freddy and his friends,
while Mom, if there was a mom,
fixed meatloaf, stringbeans, baked potatoes,
a little scoop of orange sherbet for dessert.
When we ran out to the side yard of
stars and fireflies,
drinking in the night like mossy wine,
we never knew we would end as
pictures in a family album,
lined up against Mr. Balmer’s fence in our
jerseys, overalls, and little clodhopper shoes.

2. Easter

Sunday and there she is in front of the new Buick
in a pink dress with a white peter pan collar,
a straw hat with a round humped top, a short brim,
pink ribbon tied under her chin,
same color as the dress,
holding the little pink plastic purse
feminists poets will one day immortalize,
wearing white ankle socks and
patent leather shoes,
safe at this moment,
from overly friendly uncles with whiskey breath,
face stubble like razors against her skin,
from the silent rage of her father,
the too bright smile of her aproned mother.

3. Grandmother

Wears a black straw hat
festooned with plaster cherries,
above a grim face which seems
in retrospect to know
she is being recorded wrongfully,
not the true story.
This blue serge, corseted woman
made love, gave birth to children,
her skin gleaming with sweat,
it’s only later she had to
stand in front of the house
wearing a silly hat.

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