Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE LOVE POEM, by KAREN SWENSON



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THE LOVE POEM, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: A cranky child curled in my lap
Last Line: Who says he'll stay.
Subject(s): Creative Ability; Poetry & Poets; Inspiration; Creativity


A cranky child curled in my lap,
the love poem whines,
drags grimy fists at my blouse.
I push her away,
try to distract her with
a caterpillar's hump on the sooty windowsill
to amuse her out of my mind
thinking that
love poems
like other children
have fantasy playmates,
inventions they puppet
to the actions of their desire.

But she doesn't want that.
A child sprawled on the living-room floor,
she wants to draw pictures
without the necessity of narration or connection,
to make a crayon present for a guest.

A Brooklyn balcony seat,
my third-floor window
looks down ten years ago on a Hopper scene -
a young fireman,
his hair morning slick,
and the blond bounce
of his young woman's curls.
Their voices are lost in the traffic
but the texture of the basket on her arm -
its simple cross-hatchings of straw -
is a close ripple of weave in the May sun.

From my car window last year in a green
corral shadowed by the San Francisco peaks,
a white horse and a dog -
pale neck arched down,
dark one curved up -
gallop together
the wind of their joy.

Having started from Brooklyn and left,
her pictures return, with the last one,
to the dusk of my Brooklyn street
where the windows
make their slide of home
on the wall of darkness,
and she curls in my lap,
content in our lighted frame
having given her pictures to the guest
who says he'll stay.





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