Wednesday, September 24, 2008

PHOTOGRAPH FOUND IN A CIGAR BOX


Your Kodak paper eyes stare
up at me from your cigar box coffer.
They invite me to know you.

You lived in a Victorian house on Main Street
filled with books on phrenology.
Your husband was more delicate
than you would have liked a man to be.
On Wednesdays, you met with friends for tea.
You had neither the time nor inclination
to work on jigsaw or crossword puzzles.
Secretly, you wished for a child.
You brought a calico cat back to life,
after it had been struck dead by lightning.
You named him Hot Shot. He became
your confidant and lived on with you
for another fourteen years.
You had a passion for Japanese art.
Your corset was never tightly laced.
You learned to ride a bicycle when
you were twenty-three years old and
like your mother, your middle name was Grace.
And every chance you got, you would dance
in the willowed back yard, being careful not to
step on the blue chicory stars
scattered here and there beneath your feet.

6 comments:

rosetta said...

Thank You, and please continue to share the recesses of yourself with us. They "blow me away"(sorry for the dated slang)

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Rosetta, so happy to have you along. And...I don't mind the dated slang, it makes up most of the conversations around my house!!
Please visit often. :)

trooping with crows said...

It's hard to get a handle on this character. I feel sorry for her, but she sounds like she's satisfied enough with her life? I guess maybe there is something sad about being just "satisfied"....I hope this doesn't sound absurd, but, it's sort of like, I feel like I know her very well from just these few lines and yet, I don't know ANY thing about her. This is my favorite poem so far.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

trooping with crows - Your observations are insightful. When I saw this young woman's photograph,she seemed trapped in her dark Victorian garments, a little shadow of sorrow on her face, but at the same time I saw an independent spirit shining out from her eyes. I saw a little impish grin on her face. I imagined that she was a woman who longed for romantic love and adventure in a world where neither of those things were available to her. I imagined that she was a happy person, but her happiness came from the small things of life...like the cat, the bike, studying phrenology, and dancing in her back yard when no one was looking. Glad you liked the poem.

Joanna said...

I love this poem. I admire how she seemed to accept her life but pursued her own happiness so that she wasn't completely boxed in by her circumstances. Your words made her so real to me.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Joanna Welcome! So good to have you on board!!

Yes, that is what I tried to show - someone living out her life in quiet desperation - trying to enjoy life however she could.

Glad you liked it! :)