By Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
(ed. note: Happy Mother’s Day to you, Telluride and beyond. In these five beautiful poems, Rosemerry speaks of being a dauhter and of being a mother. )
Dark blue velvet, the dress you stitched for me,
with a white eyelet bib and a rounded lace collar.
I wore it once for midnight Christmas mass, kneeling
between you and Dad, holding a thin white candle in a cup.
That night, I felt like a gift, something treasured and worthy,
wrapped with intention and offered with love to the world.
I grew out of the dress two months after you made it,
the shoulders too tight, the new plastic zipper reluctant.
As my sleeve lengths stretched out and inseams matured,
you knit me a coat of prayers I couldn’t grow out of, only grow into.
And wearing it now with its cuffs just right, I feel like a present,
wrapped with warm intention and offered with love to the world.
Before there existed this love
there was more certainty,
less worry, more wine.
Now there’s more garden,
more blossom, less time.
Now I hear the drum more clearly,
hear the evening’s hidden flute,
clap for the moment,
find the story in the moon
and tell it better, listen better,
find star tracings in your skin,
praise the nakedness of love,
how it rushes freshling in
without apology, no reason
save that flesh leaps from our flesh
and joy begets more joy
and breath sows breath sows breath sows breath
and nothing is quite what it was,
O, you my shining garland girl,
how you render me stammering,
mute, babbling, torn to pieces,
grateful and shattered,
dancing for love of you.
Praiseful and bleary.
Transparent as an old leaf.
Today I fell in love with the way you piss me off.
Fist-pounding face-scrunching gut-knotted pissed.
How could I not laugh at myself sitting there,
cross-legged on the carpet, wishing aloud you’d move to Rome?
Rome, Mars, Zanzibar … anywhere far away. And stay there.
And then you turn to me and say, Mommy, I’ll help clean it up.
Which means, I know, that you’ll clean it up the best
a four year old can, which means, I know, you’ll clean it up
and then I’ll spend another half hour plumbing the aftermath.
Your eyes are twin full moons, your spirit is snowmelt,
your hands are hailstorms in June.
And O if I don’t continue to fall in love with you
day after dirt-dumping, bowl-breaking, flour-dusting,
water-spilling, chair-akimbo, mud-skelter,
calm-bankrupt day. How we scrub hand by hand
and the body gives in, takes a deeper breath
and the world is new again almost too fast.
After Six Years, The Mother Struggles Against Regret
It is easy to look back
and think “I could have
done better.” And that is true.
I have given you too many toys.
I taught you growl when you’re
frustrated. (At the time it seemed
better than angry words.)
I have tried to pretend I was not wrong
when I was. I have grubbed
for time alone. Fussed
when I did not get it.
Talked too much on the telephone.
The list coils on itself like a noose
and I wonder in how many ways
I have poisoned the field,
not intentionally, but oh.
I try to tell myself you are like a tree
planted in a shadow. You will bend
toward the sun and find a way to thrive.
Nothing can stop you. We are wired
to struggle, to grapple, to twist,
to stretch, to mature, to survive. It is not
the shadows that shape us
but the reaching for the light.
In the House of Whirling Seeds
Do you praise the day’s luck and happiness?
This is why I have learned to pray
though it doesn’t come naturally—
because the young girl walks too close
to the rock cliffs beside the river’s brown mane.
Because the boy loves to play with sharp things.
Spades. Sticks. Poles.
He stumbles. She falls. We all splinter somewhere.
The sole. The voice. The rib.
I am still learning to travel with fear,
to breathe into its twelve thousand feathered white seeds
and wish only for what is, nothing more.
Because here she is, feet on the shore.
Because here he is, thrusting make-believe swords.
And here I am, writing, awake enough to light the candle,
to hymn the names of the many I love,
to wear their whispers inside my ear,
attentive enough to praise the day’s luck,
humble enough to pray, to let the seeds float down
and land on my hands, my face.