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My Mother Dreams
by donnarkevic

she is a child walking in the golden sunlight
with her father, sober for once, who plays
with her, for once: catch, hopscotch,
hide and seek. When his turn comes
to hide, she never finds him. Alone, she
makes believe with a yellow-haired doll.

My mother dreams
she is a clerk at Woolworth's
calculating register math in her head
while her future husband studies
the caged canaries. Attracted by the beauty,
he makes his play and, for a song, gets two.

My mother dreams
she is with child, her fourth, unwanted.
Tethered to her breast, the third suckles
the last remnants of her youth, the baby
in her transfiguring like a tumor
that metastasizes.

My mother dreams
she is a canary, lighting on the aproned lap
of an old woman barren of seed. She flies,
her wings a brilliant yellow-gold, the color
of the sun or of a doll baby's hair,
but only in dreams.

From Mourning Sickness, 2007


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