Tuesday, October 28, 2008

From The Writer's Almanac, Friday, 24 October 2008

I just love this poem!

Welcome Home, Children

by David Shumate

In the early spring I get together with all the people I've been

in my past lives. We sit around the table at my grandfather's

farmhouse—mashed potatoes, creamed peas, cornbread. There's

the Confederate colonel with his mustache and battlefield odor.

The medieval peasant from Portugal with insects in her hair. The

Irish boy who died from the fever at nine. There's the patient wife

of the fishmonger. The petty thief from Cathay who's already

stuffed his pockets with my grandmother's paperweights. My

favorite is the Hindu monk. His orange robes. The sacred paint

across his forehead. He's never reconciled his lust for women and

steals glances at the dancer from Babylon—my first life. Her long

dark hair. The thin veils draped over her shoulders. She loves

to lean across the table for the marmalade, exposing her breasts

for him to see. After dinner she excuses herself and walks into

the garden. He follows. I'm not sure if it's just a natural kind of

thing… One incarnation of mine seducing another…Or an act

so vile even Narcissus would have gagged.

"Welcome Home, Children" by David Shumate from The Floating Bridge. © University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008. Reprinted with permission.

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