Thursday, 14 January 2021

Daughter-In-Law Mine, Once Removed

by Kari Gunter-Seymour

There is a wall on the US/Mexico border
made of surplus steel and wire mesh.
A thousand miles worth,
back yards and alleys in Chula Vista,
as far up as Temecula.
Children stand on our side,
poke tiny fingers against those
hardly even holes for the slightest brush
of their grandmother’s fingers,
pressed inward from the Tijuana side.
I saw it in Time magazine and cried,
my own fingers urgent, the iciness
of your Colorado stand-off, rigid
as anything man-made.

Surely you remember this rich Ohio soil,
ripe to bursting, water pure, pastures plush.
A woman can make her way here.
I don’t care about the details, who was right,
who should have gotten what, but didn’t.
I don’t mind that you will never
love again, and hell’s to pay.

I care my body has gone to wrinkle
and the world to concrete and convenience.
Tractors traded for fracking augers,
though this parcel will never fall,
long as I can steady a shotgun.
With no partner but a wall to cling to,
what’s balled up can only bounce back.
Raised without old ways, a granddaughter
might never make out why
her body aches for seed and trowel.

Riffling National Geographic, it came to me
to send this telescope, highly
recommended for its ability to reflect.
Along with the moon and stars,
help her please to look south of Lake Erie,
by way of the Appalachians,
then east-by-southeast.
Tell her that’s her grandmother,
top of Beck’s Knob, waving a white hankie.

* * * * *

"Daughter-In-Law Mine, Once Removed" was first published in Still: The Journal and is part of A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions 2020)

Kari Gunter-Seymour’s poetry collections include A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions 2020) and Serving (Crisis Chronicles Press 2018/2020-Expanded Edition). Her work is firmly attached to her home soil and is an examination of the long-lasting effects of stereotype and false narratives surrounding Appalachians. Her poems appear in numerous journals and publications including Verse Daily, Rattle, Still, The NY Times and on her website: She is the 2020 Ohio Poet of the Year and Poet Laureate of Ohio.