Today's poem is by Anna George Meek


I inhabit lace, and delicate folds.
On my wedding day, I wear my father's
Swedish blond and shy face, and the skin
of my mother's dress. And she, years before,

in her mother's, and her mother's. The body fits
against heavy silk faille, horsehair crinoline, gores
and flares. Corset of bone. Before the bobbin,
before the vote. In my adulthood, I have been given
the shape of women I've never known.

A terrible force gathers in Germany, the year
my young grandmother holds lilacs to her hip.
From her honeymoon balcony, she leans over the parade

to spit into Hitler's hair. Startling
and translucent stuff, in half-story's half-light. The drape
of weighty public event under family memory's
inscrutable lace: these are hems that touch those

who still live, and must care for them. I have yet to clean
the stains from the old dress, my wedding now years
behind me. But it's impossible. When Brahms dies,

my great-grandmother marries, and the electron
is discovered. Suddenly,
atoms fill her skirts, and the second symphony
becomes the sepulcher of a man. Consequences of fabric

and accumulation. Women collect in the dress
the alterations of their various body sizes;
I know precisely where I stop short of my mother.
And how her shape becomes me.

Copyright © 2016 Anna George Meek All rights reserved
from The Genome Rhapsodies
Ashland Poetry Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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