Patry Francis


I wanted to make a life of strong poems,
a play that was my own.
But lifting my pen I find
my father writes with my left hand,
my mother with my right.
Always it is the same story–
Father nodding off in the armchair,
his disappointments falling into my poems
like glass,
and Mother knitting the same afghan,
the same sweater for thirty years
while we shiver in the next room.
It is the same for me.
When winter comes, I zip my oldest son
into a deep blue snowsuit and open
the storm door for him.
Disappearing like a stain on snow,
he heads for the icy hill where
sleds shriek downward with such speed
that the trees blur, the sky rocks overhead,
and for a moment he flies free
of my cautious voice,
the nest of worry and love
that waits for him at the bottom.


patry francis

“Glass” originally appeared in Poet Lore