Sarah Getty


That Woman - Poem by Sarah Getty

Look! A flash of orange along the river's edge--
"oriole!" comes to your lips like instinct, then
it's vanished--lost in the foliage,

in all your head holds, getting on with the day.
But not gone for good. There is that woman
walks unseen beside you with her apron

pockets full.Days later, or years, when you least
seem to need it--reading Frost on the subway,
singing over a candled cake--she'll reach

into a pocket and hand you this intact
moment--the river, the orange streak parting
the willow, and the "oriole!" that leapt

to your lips.Unnoticed, steadfast, she gathers
all this jumble, sorts it, hands it back like
prizes from Crackerjack.She is your mother,

who first said, "Look! a robin!" and pointed,
and there was a robin, because her own
mother had said to her, "Look!" and pointed,

and so on, back to the beginning: the mother,
the child, and the world.The damp bottom
on one arm and pointing with the other:

the peach tree, the small rocks in the shallows,
the moon and the man in the moon.So you keep on,
seeing, forgetting, faithfully followed;

and you yourself, unwitting, gaining weight,
have thinned to invisibility, become
that follower.Even now, your daughter

doesn't see you at her elbow as she walks
the beach.There! a gull dips to the Pacific,
and she points and says to the baby, "Look!"


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Read poems about / on: river, mother, beach, daughter, moon, baby, woman, tree, child, lost, world, women, children



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003



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