Love Takes a Bow: New and Collected Poems
Paperback: 132 pages Publisher: Imago Press (April 15, 2010) Language: English ISBN-10: 1935437186 ISBN-13: 978-1935437185 Buy Now
My mother took a moral stand against it,
said television was the work of the devil,
said my father’s wanting it showed how
weak he really was. But, for once, he stood
firm. It was a blond GE with a twelve inch
screen—a blond whore my mother couldn’t
have hated more. After supper, we sat on the sofa
in the dark, my mother wedged in the middle,
hands over her ears, back straight, her worn,
leather Bible on her lap. My father switched it on.
Roller Derby came at us like a train on fire,
women on skates trying to kill one another—
knees to the midsection, elbows to the neck,
hair pulling, eye-gouging. Suddenly my mother
leaned forward and yelled, “Kill her. Oh, kill her.
Hit her in the mouth.” She jabbed us with her elbows,
moved to the edge of the sofa. Her Bible lay splayed
at her feet, like an injured player. During a commercial
she read aloud from John 12:46. I am come a light
into the world, that whosoever believeth on me
should not abide in darkness. Amen, she said as the men
took the track. She marked her place with a finger,
sat forward again and yelled, “Kill him, kick him.
That’s it. Oh, hurt him.” My father excused himself
to get a glass of water. I sat on the floor to escape
her sharp elbow. And, years later, this is the way
I remember her: alone, agitated, the empty space
around her expanding, the wild, festering pleasure
she took in wrestling, boxing, and roller derby, that Bible
always within reach, proof to all that a better place awaited her.