Tuesday, July 5, 2016

She Gives Me the Watch off Her Arm

She Gives Me the Watch off Her Arm by Marjorie Saiser

my mother wants me to
go to college
the closest she has ever been
is this
the dorm
her father had needed her
to dig the potatoes
and load them into burlap bags
but here she is
leaving her daughter
on the campus in the city time to go
we are at the desk
the clerk is wide-
eyed when my mother
asks her if she will
take an out-of-town check
if the need arises
if something comes up
so my girl will have money
even I know
this isn’t going to happen
this check-cashing
a clerk helping me with money
but miracle of miracles
the clerk says nothing
and I say nothing
and my mother feels better
we go to the parking lot
old glasses thick graying hair
she is wearing a man’s shirt
has to get back to the job
we stand beside her Ford and it is
here she undoes the buckle of the watch
and holds it out to me
my father’s watch
keeping good time for him
and then for her
she says she knows I will
need a watch to get to class
we hug and she gets in
starts the car
eases into traffic
no wave
the metal of the back of the watch
is smooth to my thumb
and it keeps for a moment
a warmth from her skin.

“She Gives Me the Watch off Her Arm” by Marjorie Saiser from I Have Nothing To Say About Fire.

No comments: