Yesterday, I got my contributer's copy of Naugatuck River Review, a beautiful journal which explores narrative poetry. Lots of great poets appear in this issue. I noticed a poem by Leslea Newman, who wrote one of the first creative writing books I ever bought, Writing from the Heart (a updated version of this book is still in print! what are the odds of this?). Just before Leslea Newman's poem was a poem by Diane Lockward, who is my new favorite poet this summer. I've been savoring her book What Feeds Us, and her blog is one of the first that I bookmarked.
My poem, "Watertight Seal," appears below:
The rain spits against the window. I prefer
water contained in these days when I can barely hold
my own tears inside. I help
you with your homework while downstairs
your mother simmers soup for a simple supper.
Soon she will be off to seminary, and I will sweep
up the crumbs, wash the dishes, and make sure you sleep
in your safe bed, a clean boy with his homework done.
This house is our island where we have washed
ashore after being spit out of our previous cozy
domains. I miss the family life of my undergraduate
dorm, and you miss your father. Your mom yearns
for a more stable financial future as she worries
about losing this house, our last life raft.
Shattered survivors, we huddle close
for warmth and safety in the darkness. Your mom
wanted a babysitter, and I needed the money.
But as the years go by, we share
meals, even when it’s not a babysitting night.
I wash my clothes at your house and stay
with you when you’re sick. We celebrate
life events, this family made of castaways.
Years pass, and we find other life preservers.
My husband landscapes your yard. Your new step-dad
finds me an agent. You fall in love for the first time.
We grow new skin over old scars,
a watertight seal.
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