Today is the 20th birthday of my older daughters, Annie and Pearl. I can no longer say that I am the mother of three teenaged daughters, which, I feel, gave me a lot of street cred. I so well remember being 20, and that sense I had then that my life was about to begin…but, somehow, wasn’t beginning. Who was I supposed to be? My mother had married at age 20 (in her family, she was considered an old maid), and I was no where near that. I don’t think my girls are either. But where boyfriends are concerned? They are already far more experienced than I ever was.
At the Ballard Branch of Seattle Public Library tomorrow evening (Thursday, July 11, 6 p.m.) I will be talking about obsession. Here’s one:
naming the boyfriends
A red car at an intersection occurs like a premonition.
My daughters’ boyfriends enter our lives bearing the names
of Old Testament prophets, saints, and Irish poets.
I gave my daughters each a name with a metaphor’s heft—
Emma Grace, Ann Rose, Pearl—as if they could become
their own talismans. Who are these cavalier young men
swaggering past me through the house’s corridors?
Tall, dark-clad, bearded, brooding,
my girls like lucky stones in their pockets?
I didn’t sleep half the night, and feel a pang
of the martyr’s guilt for having slept at all.
Who needs any other obsession, having children?
At the next intersection, three red cars and two red pickups.
For the next several blocks, red, red everywhere.