In our column Poetry Rx, readers write in with a specific emotion, and our resident poets—Sarah Kay, Kaveh Akbar, and Claire Schwartz—take turns prescribing the perfect poems to match. This week, Sarah Kay is on the line.
The women who raised me suffered so many missed opportunities, and I am seized with guilt about it. I construct vivid images from the stories I know. I imagine my grandmother as a married seventeen-year-old woman-child, patiently waiting for the local florist to pass by our house so she could catch a whiff of the fragrant champac flowers she had no money to buy. How long did it take for her to give up on this tiny desire, I wonder? I imagine my mother doodling soft hands offering lotus obeisance to who-knows-which-god, over and over in the margins of her book. She must have been giving away her tenderness, surely? I see my aunt posing shyly for a photo, which is now torn in half. In a year, I will defend my doctoral thesis. This should be a vindication. But it doesn’t feel that way. Is there a poem for the taste of ash in my mouth right now?
Vanquished Read More