Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, WORD POWER, by KAREN SWENSON



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WORD POWER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: First doll, I rocked her blue-eyed blink in my lap
Last Line: "I proclaimed, ""dirty."
Subject(s): Dolls; Language; Names; Toys; Words; Vocabulary


First doll, I rocked her blue-eyed blink in my lap -
eyelashes blunt as toothbrushes, pink pout of mouth.
"Name her," Mother and her friend commanded.
I fanned through two and a half
years of words to find the one to blazon
my knowledge of Eve's apple core of motherhood,
to find the best word my mother'd taught me.
"Dirty," I announced.

The two recoiled, cajoled, and pled a change.
Despairing, they suggested some babies had two names;
but I'd been given one and so I gave.
On trains, in butcher shops, in hotel lobbies,
looking up at benign, pink, stooping
powder-scented faces and their queries,
anticipating her embarrassed smile and their recoil,
I proclaimed, "Dirty."





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