And so I woke in the borough,
a daughter with two warm arms
and two folded legs.
I was given a name,
I went home to the brownstone
with four clocks—
then woke to the glow
of The Love Boat, a tree slicked with ice,
and a mother reading gothic novels by the TV light.
Come, tell her quick:
the shelf of snow
is loosening on the roof.
Soon it will be too warm.
Grew up the oldest of six in the nineteen sixties.
Moved from Jersey to Brooklyn at seventeen
in the company of a reprobate,
my father, twenty three, whose wavy hair
was soon to grow long. Channeling his inner Irish aristocrat,
he called himself the Prince of Breiffni.
Irish too, black-eyed, she wore bell-bottoms
and halter tops, knee-high boots and a faux-leopard-spotted coat;
she liked to bake, to smoke pot, to read Gogol,
was quiet until she was not, rolling her eyes at
a pun, a pretension, always happy to see her friends;
wearing brown saddle shoes and a merit pin on her chest
until the day she was kicked out of school in “disgrace.”
Favorite color, blue. Preferred practice to theory.
Even when she was weary, even after the chemo,
she liked horses and swimming, was curious,
eating bread with jam,
always driving too fast in her leased BMW, always
making pies and quilts, rejecting guilt, licking juice from her lips.
O come down from your weeping cherry,
Mother, and look at how we have scattered
your ashes only in our minds, unable
to let you leave the house—.