POEM FOR INDEPENDENCE DAY

Susan Smith Nash

 

 

My sister and I became obsessed with roots Ė

a time before pantyhose and wrinkle-free suits,

when families could own their own stores,

and feel themselves owners while sweeping the floors.

Success could be gotten by working long hours

in jobs that rode seasons like perennial flowers;

first the winter night for planning, then riotous spring

to summerís daily green and autumnís dry seeding.

Sleep followed by day, a cycle that will repeat.

 

But when in Vermont, my sister and I, our eyes meet,

saying what we cannot say.We canít read the names

on our ancestorsí tombstones, from time or acid rain

we cannot tell.Technology less blight than attitude;

we usurp ourselves, we, who should

rip ourselves from the ground to fly.

But, ironically, dreams are why we die.

 

Today I photograph the blank, marble screens

where my sister and I see ourselves reflected, between

illegible tableaux of a family lashed together

for reasons long forgotten, and the unpredictable weather

of our lives, where we dash rootless and wet, my sister and I,

looking for affirmation in times gone by.