— Christine Richardson
Oh my prodigious offspring!
Such farflung singing!
Their assemblage, their letters
arranged in journals, better
than better, each voice unique.
How I could boast to my weekly
Mah Jong group: yes, the New Yorker.
Yes, Poetry and Poetry London, Harper’s.
(I’d skip the lesser known name a chosen few)
Of course, the Nation and Harvard Review.
And after some extended trip away
my senior aerobics would say,
well, who did you visit this time
Campbell in Miami? Dorthea at N.Y.U?
or was in Sherman in Seattle,
Tracie in Kalamazoo?
As their mother, they could be free
to call at any time to talk about their poetry.
When Stacy would reveal the kind of man he
is at the DMV, I could understand.
I, too, have been mistaken for who I am.
Though Anthony would discount his coded rhymes
I would be sure they sprang from lines and lines
I read to him of Silverstein and Dr. Suess.
The same way Adrienne would learn to lessen
grief with coupling words.
I could be proud to know they heard
it first from me as I placed their chubby hands
under mine, holding a thick leaded pencil and
then together, over and over, we traced
those 26 symbols, capitals and lower case.
These are magic, I could tell them, toss
them in your magician’s hat
and pull out words, full formed as birds, that
the world has been
Wait enough of this fanciful rambling brought
on by the bios in the back of this book. I ought
to recognize this for what it is: that at the heart I must accept
my age, my seven decades past. Still how is it that I am left
with such bewilderment? Best close the book, turn out the light.
Remember the hummingbird you saw today in the blighted
ficus tree. some descendent of the first one to build a nest
in its branches. Think about the next one to come, the next one and the next.