|The Family She Gave Me |
I lean against my mother in the dark.
Birches gleam, the color of our breaths;
the ground smells wet. We wait until the stars
slip close, relight their ancient pictures: Dog,
Great Bear, Orion with his daggered belt.
She kneels--aligns her sight with mine--points out
the Sisters, Pleiades. Six to see
and one to take on faith. From the house
voices carry burdens, argument
or song. The sky has tilted. Constellations
hold their angles; people, too, she says.
Some are here, some you must recall.
Pamela Alexander teaches creative writing at Oberlin College. Her first book, Navigable Waterways, won the Yale Younger Poet award, and her third, Inland, won the Iowa Poetry Prize. A poem of hers appeared in Best American Poetry 2000, and others are forthcoming in the Denver Quarterly Review and The Atlantic. She has been awarded fellowships from the Bunting Institute, the MacDowell Colony, Ucross Foundation and the Fine Arts Work Center.
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