by Greg McBride
It was a moving day, the barn–raising
commune of that time. Afterward, we all
milled about her new apartment, mugs and
stemware in hand, and talked of jobs and songs,
Sgt. Pepper’s Band. We were grad students,
some post–war, most pre–children. Her stuff
was boards, bricks, a platform bed, books and beanbags.
A smoking, single mother in motion and crisis.
Her little girl — coiled on hands and knees,
a sky–blue–eyed three–year–old, her hair
feral tangles of silvered–gold — mugged
up at me, tugging hard at some part of me
I didn’t know I had. That part yielded
all of me, which dove to hands and knees,
where we scuttled and growled over the carpet,
she and I, among chair legs, argyles, penny loafers,
the languorous legs of comely young mothers.
Overhead, they smoked sang–froid, they sipped
of cool, they slid on early disco. It was all
easy give and take. I could’ve stood but didn’t.