I am making you a kimono,
yellow as the ordinary things of the world
you do not know. There are dandelions
here, sunlight on the butter dish.
There is melting, and gold,
and cling peaches in juice.
You move now freer than I am:
naked and weightless, swimming.
I am making you clothes, though
they bother me: tags and edges,
buttons and zippers keeping me in.
They say this dress
will make things easy
when you’re new. Open and fold,
snap, snap, you’re ready—yellow
as a young duck, a phone book,
the creek after rain. The yellow
of canary and caution. Slow down.
The birth that waits for you is real
as a lemon or leaf, hard
as the soap on the sink ledge.
I am pressing out seams, wanting
to soften the blow. Picturing
rupture and light tearing in,
torrents of sound. The everyday walls
leaning toward you. So many things
I can’t explain. Subtractive, starting
with light. Most visible color. The yellow
of Judas, yellow stars, yellowcake.
I am sewing so slowly.
Winner of the 2016 Janet B McCabe Poetry Prize
like yellowed party favors
snap and spill into the bowl.
Tight seeds jingle on glass.
Outside, the garden black,
burlap tossed back from beds
as if from fevered sleep.
Rain comes down and rain
comes down. The beans
leave their pale circles
inside the husk, like the white
behind my wedding ring.
With our same hands that planted
we fill the jar for spring.
We tell each other again
about the trellised vines
how they climbed all seven rungs
and when they reached air
kept going, lacing together
like fingers, getting closer
to the sun. The dark
comes early, winter falling down
around us. In last year’s snow
I thought I’d be spent
come October, broken open
and provident as earth.
I shake with it—this sensible
of next year’s garden.
July 13, 2016
Mothers Always Write