Poetry May 2010

Parents

What do any of us know about our parents,
               separate or together? My mother kept the house
in order, prepared food, wore the epinetron smooth
               rolling the threads, the skeins of daily love.
She wove our clothes, played knucklebones, snakes & ladders,
               lined up with other women at the well,
walked home balancing the vase on her head
               as she balanced our family, the oikos.
Like most parents she hid her care, sadness, the arguments
               with my father heading off on another odyssey.
Da played dead when I stabbed him, let me
               wear his helmet, turned into a tickle monster.
Ma scolded him for exciting me before bed.
               I suppose they were like most parents. What do I know?
I had no others. They were as mysterious as the night sky,
               the Islands of the Blest, the sea, Hades, the god
hidden within the darkness of the forbidden inner temple.

Presented by

Greg Delanty’s recent books include The Ship of Birth (2007) and Collected Poems, 1986–2006. He teaches at Saint Michael’s College, in Vermont.

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