Thursday, February 16, 2006


Poetic interlude. All poems by ME.

Things my mother told me
I.
First, people can tell
when you’re not wearing a bra.
And they’ll think things about you,
not good things either, and you’ll be sorry
you didn’t listen to your mother.
And so I spent most of seventh grade
wondering who exactly would be staring
so intently at my incipient breasts,
and it turned out to be my father,
which of course was hard on all of us.




II.
Don’t drive if you’ve been drinking,
and don’t get in a car with anyone
who’s drunk.
Good advice, really,
and I followed it primarily because
in high school
I wasn’t cool enough to have friends
who drank, and it turns out I’m allergic
to alcohol myself. My mother doesn’t know
but I think she’d be happy to hear it.
III.
Mothers always know.
This is something I didn’t believe
for years but has now been proven
empirically.
When I got my first period,
my first kiss, when I knew
(knew what? You know). Luckily her powers of clairvoyance
are tempered by distance,
which is good now that I’m away at college
and am with increasing frequency doing things
I would prefer she never knew about,
kissing quiet girls in library stacks
and turning their pages with my dripping hands.


Seudat Havra’ah
(The Meal of Consolation)

for Beth
My tongue is split. I cannot eat.
-Sylvia Plath
There are no words–
only egg and lentil,
too thick with meaning to swallow,
a heavy consolation.
I haven’t seen my own face
in days and we just covered the mirrors
this morning,
another erasure.
And still you draw me near to you--
a gesture which is nourishment enough--
and press life to my lips
one split pea at a time,
pregnant with more
than the death I imagine,
waiting to rend the veil
and be reborn.

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