Sunday, April 13, 2008

Insomnia, again, just a bit

Mostly, it's productive insomnia, of the "I've got to get up and write" variety.


Just one of the Murray photographs:
Aunt Helen side-by-side with a drugstore silver tree.
One of them is merry. My father’s sister stands
tree-stiff, hands burrowed into satin skirt,
pearls as white as her hair, eyes as dark
as an open grave.

Those eyes: I saw them on the grandmother
I never knew, who died, Daddy said,
from having too many children. Saw them
on Daddy, in the flesh, and on Daddy’s little girl,
in the mirror.

I don’t think there was ever a blue eye
on Daddy’s side: all of them warm as cocoa,
time and again, with love or rye,
but dun-brown as a muddy river.

And time and again, I’ve thought myself
wading into that river, pockets full of stones.
But I am also my mother’s daughter,
she of the valentine face, the valiant heart.
I know, though I walk deeper into the dark flow,
sooner or later I’ll remember
to shuck off that overcoat.

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