My mother waited all week
for Wagner and Verdi on the radio.
She was a regular at the New York Philharmonic –
joked annually about having to abandon
strains of Vienna for the maternity ward.
1947, my birth year. A belly out-to-here
was rare in Carnegie Hall.
She had a bright orange quality
that frightened me as a child.
Westminster Abbey, the Louvre,
Versailles, an opera outdoors in Rome.
Occasional trips and not long and always alone.
Decades later, after my father left this world:
Mumbai, Saint Petersburg, Istanbul, Reykjavik,
African cities whose names I didn’t track. She rode
a camel and then an elephant. Did loop-de-loops
in a plane in Australia in her late ‘70’s.
Home again she’d walk for hours,
window shop, keep walking.
No amount of foreign adventure satisfies
a woman whose bones are bright orange
whose husband tried to settle her with pearls
who lost a son she was sure would be a diplomat
traveling everywhere, unimaginably important.
I dreaded opera – its darkness, its fires,
its grip – until a phrase of Puccini
caught me off guard not long ago
and broke my heart.
Marjorie Power’s newest chapbook, REFUSES TO SUFFOCATE, was released in October by Blue Lyra Press. Her newest full length collection is ONCOMING HALOS, Kelsay Books, 2018. Journals and magazines which have recently taken her work include SOUTHERN POETRY REVIEW, MUDFISH, and COMMONWEAL. She lives in Denver, Colorado and can be found at marjoriepowerpoet.com.