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Fastened to Roots, Love & Story: Mother Recalls a Ten-Pound Storm

Midwife of scarce warmth,

Mrs. Wilson’s lamplight air.

Her cod-liver tongue, talcum bosom

& cursive note of thorny expectations:

Come see me when I can best assist.

Bring two, bleached sheets.

My fee in 1970 a hundred dollars.

Aretha’s “I Say a Little Prayer”

Salt & sautée my mother’s lilt.

Closer to thirty than strength,

I straddle a stool; Salem’s ashes

Flicked in hair-grease top

Fastened to roots, love & story.

It’s Thursday before Thanksgiving—

Each half-mile, (she walks to & fro),

The moon, a vat of pelvic threat.

Scheduled curls oil the world.

Baby between thumb & formula,

The same day catching her & stove

Singing mismatched ditties: Yams

Meatloaf. Before I put on my makeup

The moment I wake up.

from Sweetgum & LightningFind more by Rodney Terich Leonard at the library

Copyright © 2021 Rodney Terich Leonard
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

Published in Poems Rodney Terich Leonard

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.