Wednesday, January 04, 2006

UNFLINCHING

One of the things I admire most about poet Suzanne Coker is her ability to tackle tough subjects head-on. She's one of the bravest poets I know.

Taking the Veil

My mother’s veil was heavy, dark, and fell
not in front of her eyes, but behind them.
Not always a veil, it began
as a limber shadow that danced
with her, urged her to dive
off the yacht and swim down
the moon’s path on Lake Pontchartrain.

The shower in her New York apartment
shot water from all directions.
Her father called her a flying waitress,
her roommate was never there.
She lived on leftovers, it took months
to save the money for a flimsy stoplight dress.

Sometime after marriage the shadow
became insistent. It stood
wherever she did, hard as a door
she would have to open or shut.
She tried to stave it off with babies,
but the shadow ate them,

leaving only their squalling. Finally
she stepped into the silhouette,
allowed herself numb
grace, went through motions
in a pale gray dress, found recipes
to explain her grasp of wine.


The Spider Lays Her Eggs

What happened to their father?
That’s a story I’ll never tell, no
matter how many drinks
you buy me. (Yes, thanks,
another would be lovely.)

Anyway, I left them
safe, wrapped tight
in their little webs
under the armoire.

No one will sweep them away.
They’ll have each other
when they wake up,
for companionship
and food.

They’ll never miss me.

2 Comments:

Blogger J.B. Rowell said...

Suzanne,
I love these two, and I think Taking the Veil is one of my very favorites of yours. And the line in the second "Yes, thanks, another would be lovely" made me laugh out loud!
Thanks for contributing,
Julia

10:59 AM, January 04, 2006  
Blogger Michael Parker said...

Taking the Veil is a powerful poem. A great write.

12:27 AM, January 05, 2006  

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