Friday, September 19, 2014

Poetry Friday: Yellow Dress

I was looking for something recently and happened on this poem.  I clicked on it because I thought about my own yellow dress poem.  But this one couldn't be more different from mine.  And of course my eye was caught by the italicized "Port-au-Prince" at the beginning.

I like to focus on positive aspects of my adopted country, but I have to share this poem because it represents a common scenario for me - and by that I do not mean that I see this kind of sight frequently, but that I often see sights I can't explain, from a moving car.  I catch a glimpse of a moment in someone's life, and then it's gone, and I will never have the context for it or understand it.  I've written down many glimpses like that in my "Writing Ideas" file, and some I've turned into poems (like the one I shared in this post).  Here, Amy Beeder reflects on one of these moments. 

Yellow Dress
by Amy Beeder

Port-au-Prince

Girl on a heap of street sweepings high
as a pyre, laid on snarled wire & dented rim.
Girl set down among the wrung-out hides.
A girl who was coming from church. It is late
Sunday afternoon. Was it a seizure? Is it
destiny or bad luck we should fear? Weak heart
or swerving taxi? In Tet Bef by the dirty ocean
thousands crush past her without pausing
at the shrine of her spayed limbs; brilliance
like the flesh of lilies sprouting from the pummeled cane.
Is it possible to be lighthearted, hours later?
Days? To forget the yellow dress?
I am waiting for her mother to find her, still
wearing one white spotless glove (where is the other?),
my idle taxi level with her unbruised arm,
her fingers just curling like petals of a fallen flower
and how did it end?

You can read the rest, and hear it read, here.

Today's roundup is here, at the Poem Farm.

3 comments:

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater said...

"Is it possible to be lighthearted, hours later?
Days? To forget the yellow dress?"

This is a question I work with regularly...how to balance beauty with sadness when both are everywhere? Thank you, Ruth, for another thoughtful post that meets me right where I need to be.

LInda Baie said...

I'm not sure I've ever seen such an alarming site, but do see a few out my car window that make me wonder. Responding to the poem is hard, that middle of the questioning, the trying to see if there is danger is interesting, as if the only way to digest it is if it is of direct concern. You always make me think, Ruth. Thank you!

Tabatha said...

Her poor mother! Those curling fingers, that spotless white glove. Sigh. I have been worrying about the missing UVa student; how hard it must be for her family, imagining her somewhere, waiting for her mother to find her. Sigh.