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Sunday, February 22, 2009

one small place

Do you know those evenings, those very long evenings when you look at the clock at 5 p.m. and can’t believe there are still two whole hours before you can realistically put the kids to bed? Tonight, both girls were overtired—whiny and tantrum-prone. And there is nothing like a wailing, possibly-coming-down-with-something baby and a huffy, desperately tired, smarty-pants five-year-old to distort the passage of time. To almost stall the passage of time. I glanced at the clock a dozen times, wondered if it was possible for the second hand to rotate any more slowly.

But now both my darlings are asleep and I have poured myself a glass of wine. The Oscars are on, but the television is muted, and I was just re-reading my friend Francine’s new chapbook, Like Saul. This quiet and this poem (and okay, and this glass of wine) are enough to bolster my good humor:

One Small Place
by Francine Marie Tolf

My mother believed Eden was the whole earth.
Then we sinned, and “our intellect darkened.”
That phrase seduced me as a child:
I pictured tracts of water and land
suddenly dimmed, like sky before storm.

Tonight, I sit on a bench
watching a couple push their children on swings:
the mother, their toddler,
the father, their baby,
who is whooping and gurgling,
his hair bright as duckling’s down.

A boy of fourteen
is swinging too, as high as he can,
no friends around to witness this lapse of cool.

I hear we’re due for a storm.
I think it will be a terrible one.
You would never guess it from the gold
lingering in this park,
wind combing cottonwoods
until they swell like distant surf.


Elizabeth said...

I thought that I had already left a comment, but maybe not? Anyway, I love this poem and wonder whether your friend's book is available for purchase?

kate hopper said...

Absolutely, Elizabeth! Click on "Like Saul" above and it will take you to Plan B press.