good ancestors and revenge fantasies

the baby finally goes down,
tiny bananna-hands curled against sweet yam cheeks
skin glowing with the rare-as-of-late may sunlight spilling in through the orange curtains
i slip out
perc espresso

and sit here at the red table
trying to empty my head
and be still
so I can write with efficacy
about Big Picture Things

a frame fell off the wall in the early hours of the morning
and an old black and white image drifted to the floor
after the crash
now i sit here staring at it
my great-grandmother Minnie, and her parents, Louis and Hannah
my great-great grandfather has his arms crossed
and a quizzical look on his narrow, handsome face
his wife looks gentle, and tired
and his daughter stands behind them both
with a white hat
and dark curls
and a face squared with resolve
over her scalloped lace collar
ankles crossed
in the shadows underneath the gilded bench her parents are sitting on

I think: these are good Ancestors.
Beautiful, Resourceful, Gentle, Resolved
And I’d better get to work before the babe wakes up.

good ancestors. Louis, Minnie, and Hannah

decide to make calzones for dinner before my husband leaves town for a conference
and I reach back through time,
to pull homemade pizza dough and sauce out of the freezer
that I made and placed there earlier in the winter
the freezer crystals sting my fingers
which are covered with cuts, lately.

put my good writing song
on repeat
think about making my sister a mix for her travels in Europe
but the cd drive isn’t working
And I’d better get to work before the nap ends

I scoop small mushy lumps of softly browning banana off the floor
and rub my fingers across the roughness on the table
where his sticky fingers spread fruit and yams an hour ago
and I neglected to wipe the table before it dried
because he was rubbing his eyes
with his food-covered hands
and i was focused on

Everyone is celebrating because we’ve been told Osama bin Laden is dead
which apparently entitles us
to feel like Americans in the Right again
…a feeling that went stale years ago
no wonder people are excited.
they think it means justice
or the end of something
but to me
it is just one more
revenge fantasy
my friends retaliate against the frat party
peppering the internet with Martin Luther King
darkness cannot drive out darkness
and even though we’re accused of misquoting
I cling to those words

I try to engage with a dilemma in the manuscript:
writing about “common sense” in a way devoid of academic pretension
ha. ha. ha.
I land here instead


1 Comment

Filed under 11 September 2001, basic goodness, coexistence, motherhood, Ordinary, poetry, politrix

One response to “good ancestors and revenge fantasies

  1. Shellie

    Hi Sarah,
    I found myself here again after a night behind the apron (and a bowtie). I really agree with your view about Bin Laden and how America perceives this to be some grand accomplishment. It chagrined me to read the enthusiastic tweets and facebook posts of my peers that evening. And now we have the Casey Anthony verdict… Why do people get so outraged and want justice so fiercely over things they have no control over, yet they won’t take responsibility for their own lives… Sorry to vent 🙂
    Well, I love how you hone in on the details of your day all the while trickling in insights and reflections. I really appreciate your blog.

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