This week all my posts will be “first drafts” of writings done here at the International Women’s Writing Guild in Saratoga Springs NY. You will be reading them here for the first time and you may read them later when they are polished and revised, but there is something precious about a first draft.
Each year Myra Sharpiro has us do the portrait exercise. We stare at a stranger for thirty minutes without saying a word. Then for ten minutes we can ask that stranger any questions that have occurred to us. We use the responses to write a poem. Yesterday I met Frances for the first time.
She Carried Large
She carries a lifetime in her face
But her hands are smooth and unveined.
She has her mother’s hands.
Impish eyes peek from below a fringe that has changed from platinum to grey .
She carried home a degree from Brooklyn Law
She carried home a husband
She carried his children and she carried large;
When her feet swelled she refused to surrender her Margo Gerald shoes from Sacks.
“I ruined my feet” she said.
She carried a family from Brooklyn to Queens.
She surrendered a career to care for her dying husband but he died straight away.
“He went out like a gentleman” she said.
She carried her grief to Manhattan unveiled.
She carried 15 Buddha’s from China
Only one laughs.