Saturday, April 24, 2010

Today is Saturday, April 24, 2010

Similar to the idea behind my previously posted poem, "Holy Art," this poem is another moment of clarity about my mother...and how stunningly complex she has become as I grow older. This is a memory I have of my mother, pregnant with her last and ninth child.

Ice Cream
(late June 1971)

I follow you down the staircase
to the kitchen where you stand in a faded nightgown
white as moonlight on the linoleum floor.
Brown hair tucked tight in bobby pinned curls,
the stubble on your legs like wire
your belly round with another baby

You open the freezer, fluorescent light
lights the pouches of skin around your eyes,
and you dip a spoon into Rocky Road ice cream,
eyes tucked behind smooth lowered lids
as the sweetness disappears
along with the clock ticking on the stove
father’s snores scraping the walls, his hard
boiled egg smell fading from your gown,
the mother you’ve become melts,
a puddle around your ankles
and swelling in its place, your lips quivering,
the blue vein at your temple pulsing,
a face I’ve never seen before, enraptured,
flushed with deep pleasure,
the spoon reaching into the carton,
as if your life depended on it.

--Catherine Fraga

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