- after Gregory Pardlo
It was leap year, on a Thursday, I was born
upstate New York, Borsch Belt small town.
To a family of farmers, where covered bridges crossed
creeks. Twenty miles to the racetrack in
Monticello, our nearest city, where father worked
for an air conditioning installation firm.
The Evergreens of the Catskills.
A mother off seeking four-leaf clovers.
Born to arrowheads and quartz, to blueberry
bushes in back fields. I ran to frogs
and salamanders across stone fences
through wild woods, no eyes followed me.
It was during the cold war red scare, but I,
a wild barn child was unaware. Daddy’s little girl
I wore patent leather shoes at Easter and
blue velvet at Christmas. The cameo necklace,
Mother gave me, fell into a stream. I was a wild thing
from go, feeling the velocity of wind. The night
I came a fierce push. I was born clear white,
pastel perfect skin, with spit-on Irish blood
and German ancestry I was told to never
acknowledge by a direct line uncle. The year
I came, there was a storm brewing in the guts
of women to have climaxes they’d never reached.
There was a surge to land on the moon. The
Atom bomb was introduced from Britain. Born
in the year of the Dragon, I knew it would be rocky
not a song in the rain, nor the cotton candy
fun world where mother resided.