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For A Child on Her Own
by
Margaret Rozga


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Christine rides the Empire Builder.
By now she’s crossed Minnesota                                                                               
And in the dawn watches the great plains                                                                              
Of Dakota unfold as if they were the palm                                                                                
Of a hand extended, inviting her to dance.
 
Back before her first step                                                                               
I carried her in a pack on my back                                                                               
To lull her to sleep by the rhythm of my walk                                                                               
Not knowing how that set her                                                                                
To face another direction.
 
I followed Lincoln Creek, a city stream                                                                               
Up toward its source, saw rusted hubcaps                                                                                
Resist like rocks the spring flood water.                                                                               
She woke to trees nodding their heads:                                                                               
This way to the open water, yes, yes, yes.
 
This poem first appeared in The Wisconsin Academy Review (Fall 2000).
Used here with the author’s permission.

Purchase a framed print of this poem.

 

Margaret Rozga is the author of Two Hundred Nights and One Day (2009) and Though I Haven’t Been to Baghdad, poems about the deployment of her Army Reservist son to Iraq and Afghanistan scheduled for publication later this year (2011). She enjoys meeting at Sven’s Cafe with the Sparks, a group including four other poets who have worked together poetically for almost twenty years. Margaret lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and blogs about poetry and social justice issues at www.benupress.com/for-words.


Post New Comment:
RobertDay:
Beautiful.
Posted 09/06/2011 10:04 PM
Janet Leahy:
A gentle memory unfolds in this lovely poem, thank you
Posted 09/06/2011 09:47 PM
Jo:
Thank you Margaret for this poem, for leading us to "Open water."
Posted 09/06/2011 01:49 PM
Jo:
Thank you Margaret for this poem, for leading us to "Open water."
Posted 09/06/2011 01:41 PM
MLove:
My daughter is off on an internship far from home. My son called last night to say, "I think I'm going to teach English in Thailand". I can so relate. This made me cry.
Posted 09/06/2011 11:14 AM
wendy morton:
this is what a poem can do; lead us to open water.
Posted 09/06/2011 10:20 AM
dennis bernstein:
wonderful poem? thank you!!! Ms Rozga!!!!
Posted 09/06/2011 07:56 AM
ed werstein:
Excellent work, Peggy!
Posted 09/06/2011 07:46 AM
dotief@comcast.net:
I love how the parent carries the child on her back so that the baby can only see where they have been and not in the parent's direction. That is so true!
Posted 09/06/2011 07:39 AM
Katrina:
How beautiful to work together nurturing poems for decades.
Posted 09/06/2011 06:58 AM
phebe.davidson@gmail.com:
This is extraordinarily beautiful and beautifully restrained, and I am overjoyed to have read it.
Posted 09/06/2011 06:50 AM
comer4:
This poem moves me, as my daughter and I have birthdays this week, and we just took her to college three weeks ago! I can fully relate to "setting her course," so to speak, by the walks we took in her childhood. Now I'm really glad we took such good walks.
Posted 09/06/2011 06:02 AM


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