To the Woman Who Left Her Old Age To Someone Older Than She Will Ever Be
On the day I finally outlive your days,
I'll wake to leaf fire, sunlight, peeling eucalyptus
and room enough to drown in.
But I'll still float above your kitchen-talk in rooms of broken English.
What you wouldn't give to have that dream again
daughters with sweet heft of breasts,
sons on long stems of bones.
Isadora danced naked on the sand
but you patrolled the shore trapped in dailyness
chafing your bunions on the beach
rushing to see if one of us had drowned.
What full-time work it was for you to live,
days sucked into sinks full of dishes
nights spent ironing, every stroke a small act of love.
California shines and shines.
Summer builds earthworks all year round.
Sun glows electric
I draw long, even breaths for you,
turn and breathe
and make such simple crossings back again.
Ruth Daigon was founder and editor of POETS ON for twenty years. Her poems have been widely published in e magazines, print magazines and anthologies. Her poetry awards include The Ann Stanford Poetry Prize, 1997 (University of Southern California Anthology, 1997) and the Greensboro Poetry Award (Greensboro Arts Council, 2000). The latest of her seven books are Payday At The Triangle (Small Poetry Press, Select Poets Series 2001)and Handfuls of Time (Small Poetry Press, Select Poets Series 2002). Her poetry was published by the State Department in their literary exchange with Thailand and their translation program has just issued the first book of Modern American poets in English and Thai in which she appears.
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