As poet Felecia Caton Garcia of New Mexico shows us in this moving poem, there are times when parents feel helpless and hopeless. But the human heart is remarkable and, like a dry creek bed, somehow fills again, is renewed and restored.
Try to remember: things go wrong in spite of it all.
I listen to our daughters singing in the crackling rows
of corn and wonder why I don't love them more.
They move like dark birds, small mouths open
to the sky and hungry. All afternoon I listen
to the highway and watch clouds push down over the hills.
I remember your legs, heavy with sleep, lying across mine.
I remember when the world was transparent, trembling, all
shattering light. I had to grit my teeth against its brilliance.
It was nothing like this stillness that makes it difficult
to lift my eyes. When I finally do, I see you
carrying the girls over the sharp stones of the creek bed.
When they pull at my clothes and lean against my arms,
I don't know what to do and do nothing.
Reprinted from "Northwest Review," Vol. 44, No. 3, 2006, by permission of the author. Copyright 2006 by Felecia Caton Garcia. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.
Also at Virtual Grub Street by/about Ted Kooser:
- The Ted Kooser Page: Links to online Interviews, Recordings, Poetry, Prose, Reviews, Photos and more;
- Ted Kooser and the American Life in Poetry column;
- American Life in Poetry #86: Linda Pastan;
- American Life in Poetry #81: Tess Gallagher;
- American Life in Poetry #70: Sharon Olds;
- American Life in Poetry #68: Wendell Berry;
- American Life in Poetry #51: Jim Harrison;
- American Life in Poetry #30: Naomi Shihab Nye;
- American Life in Poetry #26: Claudia Emerson;
- American Life in Poetry #11: David Wagoner;
- More from American Life in Poetry >>>
Also of Interest:
- Call for Submissions Page: A regularly updated listing of competitions and calls for submission of poetry, prose, freelance journalism, visual arts, academic/professional papers and more.