Poetry & Prose

Not My Mother

After Isabelle Doyle


She who drew breakfast from spigots of honey

colored marmalade, who coaxed me down from the

crookshanked oak tree, who chewed mangled sorrel

while she whistled my name, who spun me like a zodiac

when i begged her to dance – always laughing.

She wrangled me from my colic with frost covered washcloths,

dozed to the wrinkled sounds of her old tv,

sent me to bed with no dinner only to bring me rings

of salted pineapple. She drank from empty milk

bottles, slept on her side with the windows open,

cradled my sticky matted hair in the thick of July,

didn’t dare drowse in the hot vigil of summer lest

i spoil my dinner with cherry candies she snuck in

from the city.  She needled a blue-winged moth into

the small of her back, read to me from my own palm,

ordered me to grow big and well, clucked at my father’s brow,

laid out my good shirt just to take me to the creek.  On

our last day, She packed up my room and pulled me

from the house, giggled as we passed through the cranky

underbellies of cars, loped her muscles up and up the apple orchard

just to laugh at the crows.


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