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Category: Traci Brimhall

Family Portrait as Lullaby

Your father is the slow dance and I am the ballad.

Or he’s the nightclub and I am six tequila shots on the bar.

I am the salt and lemon, too.

I am the snake and the apple. I am the tongue that says

to your father—Take. Eat. Do this in remembrance of me.

Your father, the monologue in the music box

and I, the plastic ballerina in gold shoes.

Your father is the swaddle, the rock, the cradle.

His potbellied heart loses its socks and is learning to laugh.

You are Mars. Your father and I are its two moons orbiting.

You, stardust on the telescope’s lens

and the ice in the comet’s tail.

Your heart is a poppy—bright, forgetful.

You are the first mayapple of spring, unripe and rising.

And this is the hallelujah I asked the first star

to sing at the quickening.

This is the dirty Eden, stalked by envious angels.

This is the land of Isaac, and of knives.

We are the wish imperfectly granted and this is the well.

from Poetry Northwest 09.2 Winter & Spring 2015More by Traci Brimhall from the library

Copyright © Traci Brimhall
Used with the permission of the author
on behalf of Poetry Northwest.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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