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Wednesday, July 25, 2007 01:27 pm

People's poetry

Jacqueline Jackson presents

Untitled Document lovepoem #7

hard to believe I could be
enamored of a porta potty
but at the woodland wedding
the slim twin buildings set
discreetly in a leafy glade
firm steps to the broad
platform at the entrances
proved within to boast
gleaming stainless steel
fixtures pull down shields
for the commode a neat
basin warm water delicate
soaps hand towels a
scented candle burning
a bouquet of spring blossoms
a wicker basket of possible
necessities combs tissues tums
I hope they took a photo of
the lissome bride emerging
from one door her elegant
groom from the other

© Jacqueline Jackson 2007

The loss of youth and innocence is one of the great themes of literature. Here the California poet Kim Noriega looks deeply into a photograph from 40 years ago.
Heaven, 1963
It’s my favorite photo—
captioned, “Daddy and His Sweetheart.”
It’s in black and white, it’s before Pabst Blue Ribbon, before his tongue became a knife that made my mother bleed, and before he blackened my eye the time he thought I meant to end my life.
He’s standing in our yard on Porter Road beneath the old chestnut tree. He’s wearing sunglasses, a light cotton shirt, and a dreamy expression.
He’s twenty-seven. I’m two. My hair, still baby curls, is being tossed by a gentle breeze. I’m fast asleep in his arms.
From Blue Arc West: An Anthology of California Poets (Huntington Beach, Calif., Tebot Bach, 2006). Copyright © 2006 by Kim Noriega. Reprinted with permission of the author and Tebot Bach. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Ted Kooser served as the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2004-2006. For more information, go to www.americanlifeinpoetry.org.
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