Monday, December 07, 2015

A Road in Winter

Apologies for missed posts. I got distracted by Thanksgiving travel and visiting. 
I notice that if I allow myself to skip even one day here, I find it difficult 
to decide when to return. The daily posting is what works for me--
I wish I could say the same about Daily Haiku or Daily Sketching practices. . .
This picture was taken on the drive, and then messed with on the iPhone. 


It is like opening the door
on my grandmother's bones.
By this time,
they have grown vulnerable
as a crust of snow,
almost a fiction, almost
easier than the actual
dust fallen from history
along the rocker, the mantle,
smelling like cedar.
This cottage is nothing
but split trees.
I have come to help
hang screens, scrub floors,
lay out on the dock,
pump water, throw
the rowboat into the lake.
Old motions rise out of us
like ghosts, light
enough to go on forever.
Our shadow selves come
dripping up the dock,
track sand across the floor,
play spin-the-bottle 
by the fire, trembling
to think whose mouth
the bottle points to, and
what way is best. No sooner
than I lean against the kiss,
the door cracks open
on those melting bones.

Fleda Brown Jackson        (1944-

Fishing With Blood, Purdue University Press, 1988, page 25.

Fleda Brown has been one of my favorite poets since I discovered her on a visit to Michigan several years ago, when she read in a bookstore in Petoskey. I am astonished to find that I have never featured one of her poems on this blog before. I think I could even remember which poem I used, but no, it seems she has never been here before; I will definitely fix that. 

Naturally, my thoughts turned to my own family when I was thinking about this poem. My parents left Arizona for Schenectady, New York (home of General Electric) when they founded our family in 1934. That means that my Arizona cousins were exposed to places and parts of the deep family history that I never knew about. 
Until I was almost fifteen, my Family of Origin (FOO) lived in the village of Scotia, across the Mohawk River from the GE plant. Then we made a mighty leap nine miles out of town to The Farm in 1950, which is the childhood spot of my younger brothers, and which I have talked about many times on this blog. Three years later, I went away to college and then married. My dad was transferred to Cleveland, Ohio in 1957, where we rejoined the family during my husband's graduate education. My youngest sibling, my sister Marjory Ann, was in the third grade and Shaker Heights is her childhood home. 
We never had a cabin, grandparents close enough to visit, or much visiting of relatives, although we did have three sets of cousins in New York State, although not in easy driving distance. All of this meant that we didn't have deep generations-long roots anywhere, no family cabins or lakes. So I am a little jealous when I read Fleda's poems, which are so excellent!

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