Today's poem is by A. M. Brandt
Driving to Work
Here comes the old man with his coffee
and brown spaniel who goes crazy with wagging
to find the bus-stop kids in their loose confederacy.
The girl in leg braces wears sweats and a Windbreaker,
holds her mother's hand. It's spring again; the apple
green buds are only blowsy stains against a frail sky.
My own daughter at home in her bed, sick
after a three-day fever. Last night I held her
in the bath, laid her body against mine, and dipped
her hair to the running water, her eyes
openly deliberate to this world and the other one
half-hidden. And I thought of that famous photograph
of the mother and child, that nearly grown girl arching back
in a kind of tense spasm, the mother all soft and relaxed
with a love of one who has been allowed to hold
her daughter forever. Children on the radio, too, real children
all over Ireland and the ones in church orphanages
and the thousands of charges, thousands
over the years. How will they ever bear
to be touched and held again?
My students are rising and dressing,
traveling by city bus or bike or car.
They will be waiting in the classroom,
waiting for something or anything
to happen in their lives. Tired after nights
of new love or tired of too-little love.
I don't know how it is that I can come before them,
honest and hopeful as they are or deserve to be.
I'm trying hard to believe in something as buoyant
as the Bradford pears along the road, blowing
their white blossoms in a sudden flurry.
They keep doing that. Each year, shimmering all at once,
making impossible beauty, then throwing it away.
Copyright © 2015 A. M. Brandt All rights reserved
from the Southern Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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