Anniversary - Poem by Morgan Michaels
The kitchen calender, impaled by a nail in the wall,
rifled by the breeze over the still-damp floor,
its gridded edges stamped with dates
under Fantin La Tour plates,
is the wind's rolodex;
the blue filled corners of each graven square,
like window boxes after April snow,
says it's been a week beyond a year
since your long, inelegant demise, O Mother dear.
I see you snatched from the doldrums of Providence
where the streets had names like Main, Mt Pleasant and Charles,
transported from the high-school football fields of Providence,
so quiet, one could recite rosaries unperturbed,
despair tweaked only by the ticking clock,
the lovliest orphan on the block,
trusting only in what's plain: God's choosey grace,
that awesome provost, his Holy Ghost
and your own sweet face.
Again, I see you up with the sun, shouting awake
the sleepers sleeping, keeping house, house
for the tough but worth it spouse you took to wed,
a vile privilege, no mistake,
disappointment a sort of natural glue:
life, never perfect, wasn't designed to be so.
The depths of your redoubtable pool of grace
dwindled sadly, as life wore on, and only God
so friendly, early on, to blame.
I hear you channeling tales that told us who we were:
the corn-copping deer that bounded from the barn at dawn.
The wolves that crept down and howled in the Vermont foothills.
The squaw that came calling and unlike Whitman's stayed.
The supervised rite of the campus dance
where future soul-mates met by chance.
You clapped when each year I unwrapped the sack-butt-playing
shepherd in yellow hose, who sat at the corner of the creche.
Niagara, when pop complained the Canadian side was bigger.
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