A Warning in Jazz: Three Poems by Sarah Bigham

By Sarah Bigham

 

Seven Days a Mother

My friends, they have children and eight days of
laundry to do on Saturdays. They envy my quiet
time with six books at a time, adult
television shows, and
nobody yelling for MOM every three minutes.

swingsBut I was the first to drive a child to school, to drop
her off , not one minute late, and pick her up, sitting
in the lot ten minutes early,
my newborn, you see.

She arrived in the wind with no coat and two bags,
black plastic for trash, a few items in each.
And a scowl.

We went to the library, the swings at the park, we
played games and with kittens,
she purred they were clouds.

We ate chicken on china and shopped for chips at
the store where the
giggles appeared during day four.

On day five I got the call to
take her back | give her back | return her
like a mis-fitting shirt, all pre-arranged, but
does it help to know?

She would be a woman now, perhaps with babies of
her own, my dreams for her:
a warm home, a soft place–and suitcases.

I watch over the child, at nine, curled on her side,
thumb in her mouth,
when she thought I wouldn’t see.

I was a mother, once,
for seven days.

 

Incandescence

waterFragments of you return each morning,
bright scales wafting slowly backward
from a shimmering fish flashing by,
as we begin to wade.

Noontime brings the wriggling mass of
your ever-glistening spirit,
evasive as the slippery skin of eels,
while we thirst in shared waters.

We race the dappled sheen of dusk,
that magic space of tide and time,
your presence embodied in refracted light,
laughing off of the water,
following us home to shore.

 

Pulsing Condescension

The beat percusses us awkwardly
_____into a building with a sign singing urgent
_____care, serving anything
_____but.

A white coated man proclaims the patient
_____forty, female, and fat.
_____“Your bra too tight?” he sneers as we scowl.
_____“Performance anxiety then,” he
_____declares.

We escape, walking out into the night,
_____heart maintaining its erratic march,
_____a warning in
_____jazz.


Sarah Bigham reads, teaches, and writes in Maryland where she lives with a kind chemist, three independent cats, and an unwieldy herb garden.

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