Tuesday, May 22, 2012

tuesday poem: Swallow


When you have the hiccups
someone’s thinking of you
somewhere in the world,
my grandma explained to me once

while I sat in her kitchen
on my embroidered cushion
counting the tapestry roses
that grew in rows on the wall.

Tell me about your school day,
she would always say,
and I would tell her about
the fossils of birds, the way they

can last forever when they fall
to the ground in the right place
and how they are made to plates
to hang on the auditorium wall.

When I arrived too late for lunch
she told me not to worry,
the youngest and the oldest
have a right to be heedless,

she would state, and leave
the door accidentally open.
But what if I want
the hiccups to stop,

I asked one day, there,
between strawberry jars.
Then you drown a sugar cube
in vinegar and swallow it,

she said, and I thought
it was a joke until I tried.
Until this sweet sour taste
blended into the memory of her.

for the Tuesday Poem series

the poem, i thought of it when i saw the swallows here in the sky - the had returned while i was in Mallorca.  and the note about the oldest - this now makes me think of the old lady who lives 2 houses further. she had to go to hospital because she fell. hopefully it's just bruises. she didn't want to leave her house, afraid they won't let her return alone, afraid of the door of it closing to her.

the image of birds - this also connects to the cover of Open City from yesterday's blog entry, and the lines on birds, right in the second paragraph of the book: "Not long before this aimless wanderings began, I had fallen into the habit of watching bird migrations from my apartment.." 

first published in eclectica: Swallow

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