Tuesday, April 24, 2018

"Susan"

Cathy & Patsy paper doll clothes framed on my wall
Susan

There's a photo
rests upon Mother's bureau;
girl with blond hair, straight bangs,
fair of skin.

Used to think she was me.

But how could that be
as she was older
and I didn't recognize
the plaid, button-down shirt?

Sat for hours one afternoon,
sorted through hidden boxes stacked;
found hand-drawn, paper-doll clothes
labeled Cathy & Patsy: ski boots,
poodle skirts, evening gowns,
polka dot pajama's ...
thanks to someone imaginative.

Wondered at Mother's tears
on afternoons I played
 Judy Garland's Trolley Song,
Meet Me in St. Louis,
Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
over and over again...
Asked why the record skipped,
who played it before me?

_________

My favorite number is nine
after a little girl who dreamed of

being a year older,
an artist,
swinging in the park,
feeding the ducks,

but eight is all she had
and blue eyes & a smile
within a silver frame
that reminds me of me.

by Margaret Bednar, April 24, 2018


This poem has been reworked a number of times, and thanks to this challenge, I believe this is my best effort so far (added quite a bit and deleted a stanza or two)

I really don't look like anyone in my family - my sisters being darker and having different facial features - but Susan's features looked like me.

This is linked with "dVerse Poets Pub - Poetics: Body Image"

and NaPoWriMo 2018 (30 poems in 30 days)  

9 comments:

Mark Walters said...

That is interesting, kind of a mystery. Susan doesn't find any thing in the closet for her. Then the Judy Garland songs and the girl who died at eight years old. It's a good mystery, unfolding a partial story, but not all

Margaret said...

Hmm. I might need to go back to the drawing board ... The girl in the photo is my sister Susan who died just before reaching nine. I was almost two when she died and the first I even acknowledge her is when I mistook her photograph for me .... but she was older as I think I was six or so and she was older in the photo. I found her paper dolls she created in the hospital and I also liked her favorite singer Judy Garland - it just made my mom sad to remember...

I guess this is why I struggle with this poem - to make it clear - and I thought I'd done it this time. ugh.

Kathy Reed said...

I rememberthe plaid clothes,paper dolls, straight bangs of the era.This is touching.I think it does us good to go through things and reminisce from time to time. I also lost a sister, so I know the sadness. Maybe answer your own question....with no line separation?? ..."..it was not I, but my sister.." 3❤

Margaret said...

Maybe I will, Kathy, but I'm trying to make it clear without saying it directly. I guess it is still a work in progress - thanks for the suggestion.

Dwight Roth said...

Loved your poem Margaret! The smile is still there! Loved the paper dolls also. A very sentimental piece!
Dwight

Mama Zen said...

"but eight is all she had" Perfect turn, Margaret. Really well done.

Kim Russell said...

The opening lines are so poignant, Margaret! That must have been difficult for a young child to understand, a photo of a child you thought was you but knew couldn't be because of what she was wearing. I love that you wanted to find out about her and the description of your search through hidden (kind of Pandora's)boxes. Somewhere, in that rainbow gene pool, Judy Garland's songs are woven.I love the lines:
'My favorite number is nine
after a little girl who dreamed of
being a year older'
and the way the poem ends with the photograph in the silver frame.

Mary Hood said...

Without reading the comments,the way I read this is the record was played by your mom, the 8 yr old is your sister. Genetics have a way of hiding themselves, but they eventually appear somewhere either in cognitively or physically. A beautiful poem!

brudberg said...

So very very sad... to be so much like someone you never really new... one of my cousins died at the age of four... and it really affected the rest of the family.