Judgment

Photo by Matthew Henry on UnsplashPhoto by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Woodside, NY (1974)

Contentment is a wet chest in December

Because when the breeze rushes off

The cars and onto the sidewalk

And through my coat and through

The little boxes of light in my bathing suit

Into the bare little dip between my breasts

I know I won’t have to talk to anyone.

 

Of course, what I hope is that

I do not see anyone at all.

That is, Anyone I know. Anyone who knows

who gave me the bowling ball in my belly

that kept me from being one of those

car drivers on the road pushing the wind,

Anyone who knows I am a loser

of husbands.

Anyone who knows what the little patch

of jet black hair looked like as I laid

my son in the space between my breasts

on the walk home from the grocery store

past these same brick apartments,

Anyone who knows I’m not coming to tea

and so invites me for something to say,

Anyone who knows I let my daughter run

wild like an Indian, cut her hair short

and jump from garage roof to garage roof,

Anyone who knows I let her play basketball,

and skip her bath, and skin her knees.

Anyone who knows I don’t want her to be like me.

Anyone who knows how to say the rosary

and scoffs at my name being Mary.

 

But today, with my hair joined in little Vs

From where the pool water tried to run away

And with my muscles spent like single dollar bills

Have been pulled through each tendon

Enough times to leave them raw and wobbly

And with the little patch of bare and wet on my chest,

I have an excuse to cut the conversation

short.

Anyone who knows how to say the rosary / and scoffs at my name being Mary.

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