Marilyn L. Taylor
NOTE: I cannot tell a lie; every once in a while a poet has to give in to the urge to write something terminally corny—which is what “Cecelia and Bobby” obviously is, and I beg the reader’s indulgence. “For Lucy,” on the other hand, was the result of my visit to Tanzania, years ago. I couldn’t get Lucy out of my mind, even though her celebrity has been usurped by the discovery of a few still-older skeletal ancestors of hers, and of ours.
Cecelia and Bobby: a Tale of Love Gone Wrong
At twenty years of age, Cecelia fled
her cozy bedroom in her father’s house,
became her bashful boyfriend Bobby’s spouse,
and plopped her body next to his in bed.
Ham-hocks in one hand, cupcakes in the other
she overdosed her Bobbykins with edible
delights— until he threw her out. Incredible?
He said it felt like bingeing with his mother.
The town’s still talking after all these years
about the way Cecelia dried her tears,
and drove her little Subaru to Sears
to buy a set of barbecuing spears--
and how proficiently she did the job
of turning Bobby into Shish-ka-Bob.
For Lucy, Who Came First
She simply settled down in one piece right where she was,
in the sand of a long-vanished lake edge or stream--and died.
—Donald C. Johanson, paleoanthropologist
When I put my hand up to my face
I can trace her heavy jawbone and the sockets
of her eyes under my skin. And in the dark
I sometimes feel her trying to uncurl
from where she sank into mudbound sleep
on that soft and temporary shore
so staggeringly long ago, time
had not yet cut its straight line
through the tangle of the planet,
nor taken up the measured sweep
that stacks the days and seasons
into an ordered past.
But I can feel her stirring
in the core of me, trying to rise up
from the deep hollow where she fell--
wanting to prowl on long callused toes
to see what made that shadow move,
to face the creature in the dark thicket,
needing to know if this late-spreading dawn
will bring handfuls of berries, black
as blood, or the sting of snow,
or the steady slap of sand and weed
that wraps itself like fur
around the body.
© 2018 Marilyn L. Taylor
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