Fourteen Year Old Daughter in the Storm
The daughter is eating green powder,
a confection the color of Kryptonite or antifreeze.
Outside the air is also green.
The rain and birdcalls wrap around us.
This could be the story:
A mother and daughter together,
safe from the storm,
the mother offering a warm lunch of soup-
the two of them at the kitchen table.
Instead, the daughter grins with her green fingers,
Delicious she says.
She can subsist on sugar and
conversations with her friends.
The willow at the far end of the lawn
waves its wild mane behind the glass.
I am tiny on my bed,
awash in newspapers and coffee cups,
a woman with time to putter.
My daughter is floating
beneath the archway now
on a small raft.
The sky opens out behind her.
She is perfectly at home within these waters.
The world welcomes her
the way it does beautiful young girls-
She has received an exclusive invitation.
She does not look back.
The day I bit the thermometer in half
just to feel the tiny tube
go snap between my teeth,
everyone got agitated.
They shouted and I spat
on the green rug with the long yarn
I used to pull and braid,
beside the fish tank
where the neons darted back and forth
in furious commute,
and the angel fish blanched
when I knocked on the glass.
I summoned all my spit
inspired by the thrill of the command-
I spat for joy and for solidarity
with all those rooting for me,
Champion of Spitters
till at last they seemed satisfied
and my mother retired me
with a slice of bread, a cup of milk,
into the quiet of whiteness.
Late Night Conversation With My Daughter In College
My daughter and I are talking late at night.
She tells me that
ideas keep spilling out of her head,
like how meat looks and feels weird,
especially under plastic.
Wouldn’t a sofa that has the texture of meat
be a fascinating art object?
And wouldn’t it be funny
if the subway could tear through the sidewalk
and devour the city? And I say
she’s been awake studying too long
but she really wants me to appreciate all these ideas and
she was afraid I wouldn’t
and now its happening just the way she feared
and she starts to cry.
So I say well, have you ever thought
if we really could forget all these trappings
and just notice that we are here somehow here
with no instruction, no explanation,
springing from, as far as we know,
wouldn’t we all be walking around shouting
What the hell? What the hell?
looking at each other in complete astonishment
until we got exhausted and bored
and began to move on
to the next thing?
And she stops crying and says
Jill Stein is a psychotherapist and mother of two children. Her work has been in Poetry Northwest, US 1 Worksheets, West Branch, MacGuffin, and Pearl, among other journals. She has received three NJ State Council on the Arts poetry grants, and is a long time member of US 1 Poets.