Friday, March 04, 2005

The Reading

The Reading

Through the metal detectors, past the racks
Of new arrivals, nodding at the gray-haired
Men in drowsy contemplation of
The plastic-bound periodical pile,
Then on between the self-help and the seven-
Day returns, toward the reference stacks –

Got my foolscap and my new gel pen;
Always-jammed copier wants my quarters.
Returning from my scanning scribbling pawing
Expedition through the spines, I hear
The fussing of a baby somewhere on the
Borders of my Dewey-dirtied mind.

There she sits, one of ours, in the
Age when peace should be descending on
This queen who never will enjoy the rest
She thought she earned by honor and by will:
Rough grandma with too-long permed hair draped
Across the collar of her Carhart jacket -

Cigarette creases mitered into her frowning
Face, staring into the monitor, piloting
The mouse with one hand and performing part-time
Soothing with the other, rocking the child
In the carrier on the floor at her
Feet. The child is not like me, not like

Her, and I'll bet he’s not like the absent mother.
The squalling curls up from a brown, brown face; the
Sound cuts in front of me, imposing on me,
Elbowing, taking liberties, demanding,
Entitled, not like Our Sounds. And grandma drags
Her eyes up to mine, and offers that smile that sprang

Proud from a wide spot in the road somewhere,
Someplace where grace gets said and two jobs get worked
And no one laughs at macaroni from a
Box. And I know this ain’t what she wanted
From her labor, And she knows she taught someone
Better. And her eyes shine down, down

To her future, her breath already spoken for,
Years to be burned, raising this little stranger
While the childmother runs out the reel on her gifted
Life, mocking without knowing, betraying blood and
Soil on the altar of what she learned from school and
Tube and church and choking family silence.

(copyright 2004 by Scorebored)

1 comment:

Scorebored said...

Mrs. Blessed, thank you so much for posting my poem on your site. I really enjoy your blog, and wish I could correspond with you (I have questions about how to spruce up my blog, and I am The World's Most Ignorant Man when it comes to computers and blogs and so forth). Any chance I could email y'all?