Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Poem sample from Tender Hooks by Beth Ann Fennelly (see LINKS)

Making an Egg for Claire, Sunny-side Up

I find a blood smear on the monstrous yolk.

Dead child, first love, there's a place for you, too,
at my table, but how shall I call you?
You died without ears
in a town so far away and cold with snow.


People look at my baby and wonder whom she favors. Because she doesn't look like me, they decide she looks like her father. I nod. I nod and nod. But really she favors the great dead one. My own bad Dad. She favors him, the same brown eyes, the same scooped out philtrum, that valley leading from nose to mouth, as if the warm fingers that formed her stroked a perfect pinkie tip there to sculpt it, a valley filled with orchards where dusk brings cinnamon-velvet deer who crunch sweet apples beneath the bee-buzzing, white-blooming trees. See, I love her, so even from the grave he spites me. Look at him, winning again, crying in the bassinet. Here I come on quick feet unbuttoning my blouse.

Interpreting the Foreign Queen

I rush home after class to slurp her thigh,
to pounce on baby belly, press my lips deep
to spray wet-raspberry kisses. They make her writhe.
I'm spilling giggles, nibbling ticklish feet.
My husband, the anti-tickler, disapproves.
He says she'd just been resting in his lap,
she'd just had food (she's always just had food)—
now, overstimulated, she won't nap.
He swears I shouldn't toss her, not so high.
She gives a shriek—pure terror, pure delight?
We read our own emotions in her eyes.
If only she could speak to say who's right—
to say I am. For him, I put her down.
Just two more days till he goes out of town.

First Day at Daycare

My daughter comes home smelling like
another woman's perfume.


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