cambridge book review

Bill of Lading

Norma Gay Pewett

A chewed-looking Styrofoam snowman head,
++++++Black felt pipe, googly stuffed-animal eyes
++++++(also the bag of eyes, I discover later)
A sweater that smells disagreeable unless it is your mom’s
++++++An ocher clipping with a penned-in arrow
++++++To my head— “My Daughter” as if I don’t
++++++Recall sitting in turpentine at Methodist art camp
Some recipes she never used, but carefully copied longhand
++++++Swedish meatballs, ham loaf, Hanukkah cookies
++++++Did she know we were not Jewish? Did she know
The people in the multi-picture frame, never filled with us,
++++++So beautiful and fresh, having action-packed fun?
++++++She never saw the sea, but pictures of the sea—
++++++Did she long for the thrum of waves on pebble?
Some hanks of yarn, maybe free, from the spinners where
++++++Her working life began at fifty, where she nearly
++++++Fell in love with her foreman, but for her bad heart
Her bad heart, to my brother, who died with it in his chest.
++++++Her Ozark drawl, her temper, her madwalk to my sis-
++++++ter; her terror of twisters to all, her scrawl she left
++++++backwards, to her ma. After all, most say I got
Her hazel eyes, her love of fun, her Irish hair, and the low
++++++Thyroid that left her brows and mine scant
++++++She left her death-day as my birthday, to me, alone.

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April 1, 2010 Posted by | memoir, poetry | , , | 1 Comment