A Vision of Colleen
No longer a fish in an inland lake,
impatient to be born in the vigilant room,
Colleen blurts into the doctor’s waiting hands
bird-bright and wary.
Her skin’s fine translucence
exposes the ruddy blood beneath
pulsing with secret calmness
as if saying, “See how relevant I am.”
In this exact moment Colleen, miniature bride,
marries the harsh air. Arms flung wide, she startles—
then impossibly—reconciled to the expansion,
anchors to the full weight of gravity.
I will never forget bending down to see
the vision of her pansy face,
I imagine panné velvet, perfume,
white chocolate and tulle ballet costumes.
Her miraculous compendium of cell after cell,
an embryonic construction
transformed into limbs, fingers and toes,
the arch of her fine foot, a graceful arabesque.
She is herself as independent
of her mother as her mother is of me—
complete and individual.
And I am reminded of an old photograph—
my eight year old grandmother, in a time,
two centuries removed from the one we are in now,
draped across her gray-haired father’s knee,
both she and Colleen, breathing angels,
and beauty, beauty, beauty.
Dale Champlin is an Oregon poet with an MFA in painting and photography. She has authored a book, Doggerel; twelve dogs and one cat (2017), and a chapbook, Twisted Furniture (2017). She is the 2017 editor of Verseweavers (the OPA anthology) and co-director of Conversations with Writers. Her work has been published in Social Justice Poetry, VoiceCatcher, and North Coast Squid, and is soon to be published in Moments Before Midnight.