Woman Poem

Woman Poem
by Rio Murphy

When she was my child 
I paused at the perfect curl of her earlobe.
She was a comma in my diatribe
about laundry and bills,
my aching back,
the sticky handprints everywhere,
the runny noses and endless nights of fitful sleep:
The Joy of Her.
#
When she was myself,
if I looked away
and back again
just in 
time, 
She was a blinking cursor.
#
When she was my old mother
with her tissue paper skin
and brittle bones on which it hung,
one black pupil 
narrowing within
the colourless iris of
her one sighted eye
—the spoon suspended halfway to her lips Like a question mark—
she was the poem
I could not write.
#
A woman poem is a ribbon in a river flashing underwater, 
It catches on an ankle,
Then slips away over black river stones, unknown.

LOVE AFTER LOVE
by Derek Walcott

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

This reading is part of On Being’s altogether wonderful poetry archive.

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