Mama put my first poem on the refrigerator. I remember
my drawing of the Scottish Terrier under the apple tree, not the words.
Twelve years and sixteen schools, a military brat wraps
words around her like the black and white coat from London.
Given the run of the library, she learns about sex from Frank Yerby,
romance from Elizabeth Cadell, and poetry from Carolyn Kizer.
In past lives I have been a busboy and waitress,
librarian and records manager, and always a writer.
An apprentice of Dante Aligheri and Anne Carson, I love working
on the epic, the book-long poem, the project that seems unending.
An apprentice of Jane Kenyon and Jane Hirshfield, I attempt lyrics about
a sunny window where a tramp dozes in a black velvet chair at Starbucks.
I walked the wet stones of the temple of Madurai in bare feet
in the new millennium-- to research a poem, to learn about Hindu saints.
In past lives I have been a single woman and pilgrim,
first time home owner and gardener, and always a student:
The crazy lady who walks her dog around the schoolyard in the rain
singing, "Davy, Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier."
"Genealogy," Silhouette: Bold Lines and Voices from WriteGirl. (Los Angeles: WriteGirl Publications, 2009.)