Pacific

Pacific by Jeannine Atkins from Borrowed Names: Poems about Laure Ingalls Wilder, Madam C.J. Walker, Marie Curie, and Their Daughters

(Laura Ingalls Wilder & Rose Wilder Lane Portion of This Book)

“Two women life their skirts over the blue ocean

Rose picks up a stone, wave – smoothed,

aches with the possibility and the waste in bending

for beauty. Waves crash. Her hands shake

as if holding a carton of raspberries

she’ll never taste. Her knees wobble.

You wanted a house next door filled with children.

Mama, I’m sorry. I can’t.

You have no cause to be sorry. Rose, I understand.

No one understands!

That’s what I thought when I had a baby

who died at twelve days old.

Mama digs her toes into sand

that the fierce sea sucks back. Pebbles clatter.

My mother lost a son, too.

Three generations, we all lost baby boys.

I didn’t know.

You were just three, twoo young to remember

that poor baby, sick right from the start.

We never even named him.

It was just before the house burned down.

Mama, what happened that day?

Rose can’t forget the blazes, blame,

the stench of burning chairs, china, and dresses.

Memory is a acrobat: With each spin and tumble

new pictures shift into view.

There’s more she wants to say;

Am I a terrible wife? Can I do anything right?

That fire was nobody’s fault. Mama wrings cold

salty water from her skirt.

She slips her shoes back on,

not bothering to shake out the sand.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s