Saturday, January 12, 2013

Poems for Shabbat XXII

The Tattooed Lady - Ted Kooser

Around the smallpox vaccination scar
I'd hated since I was a little girl
I had him put this daisy, then its stem
because the flower looked too spidery
without a stem, and then these little leaves.
He said to think of it as just a gift
for a pretty girl. I went to him that night
because my arm was swollen, and I stayed
for twenty years. Around the daisy's stem
he slowly wound a snake that circled me
with swirls of trailer camps cheap hotels
and sideshows, yet I loved the masterpiece
that I became to him. His touch had touched
me everywhere. His love is here to see.

The Old Woman - Ted Kooser

The old woman, asleep on her back,
pulls up her knees and gives birth
to an empty house. She kicks off
the quilt and sheet and rakes her shift
up over her hips, showing her sex
to the photos of children
arranged on the opposite wall
who, years before, turned their
moonlit faces away.

(both poems I found in Ted Kooser, Flying at Night: Poems 1965-1985)

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