m_topn picture

N O V E M B E R   1 9 9 3

m_rub_po picture

FOR THE TAKING

by Linda Gregerson


audioear picture Hear Linda Gregerson read this poem (in RealAudio).

(For help, see a note about the audio.)

Also by Linda Gregerson:
Target (1996)
Safe (1990)

Go to:
An Audible Anthology
Poetry Pages



And always, the damp blonde curls
on her temples
and bountifully down to her shoulder blades,

the rich loose curls all summer mixed with sand
and sweat,
and the rare, voluptuous double

curve of her nether lip -- most children lose
that ripeness before
they can talk -- and the solemn forehead,

which betokens thought and, alas
for her, o-
bedience, and the pure, unmuddied line

of the jaw, and the peeling brown shoulders --
she was always
a child of the sun . . . This

was his sweet piece of luck, his
find,
his renewable turn-on,

and my brown-and-golden sister at eight-
and-a-half
took to hating her body and cried

in her bath, and this was years,
my bad uncle did it
for years, in the back of the car,

in the basement where he kept his guns,
and we
who could have saved her, who knew

what it was in the best of times
to cross
the bridge of shame, from the body un-

encumbered to the body on the
block,
we would be somewhere mowing the lawn

or basting the spareribs right
outside, and -- how
many times have you heard this? -- we

were deaf and blind
and have
ever since required of her that she

take care of us, and she has,
and here's
the worst, she does it for love.


Copyright © 1993 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; November 1993; For the Taking; Volume 272, No. 5; page 132.

m_nv_cv picture m_nv_un picture m_nv_am picture m_nv_pr picture m_nv_as picture m_nv_se picture