by Kelley White
for a poet
I was miserable of course for I was seventeen
and I had a single pair of blue jeans
I wrung out each night and hung on the doorknob
against the light of traffic slatting the blinds
I decided when I had my own place I’d never
sleep alone. I didn’t know anyone to invite
but there’d be someone. Maybe a cat who liked moonlight
or a dog that couldn’t bark. My mother watched me
too often in the meadow where I listened to the crackle
of katydids and click beetles. Dry afternoons and wet
mornings. One day I’d meet someone in my meadow
and they’d love all my memories. I’d weave a chain
of black-eyed susans and grass for a hat
band. It’d be the night. I’d meet sunrise.
I’d whistle the song I can’t remember. The one that ends
with a twenty dollar gold piece. And a watch.
AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: A real “Breck Girl,” Ginny Guild, does my hair for the Junior Prom, Gilford, NEW HAMPSHIRE, 1971.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I remember attending a poetry retreat some years back at the Jersey shore with the wonderful teacher and poet Peter Murphy and he gave the opening, “I was miserable of course for I was seventeen. . .” The poem previously appeared in this year’s Eclectic Muse.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Pediatrician Kelley White worked in inner city Philadelphia and now works in rural New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared in journals, including Exquisite Corpse, Rattle, and JAMA. Her most recent books are Toxic Environment (Boston Poet Press) and Two Birds in Flame (Beech River Books). She received a 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant.