I did the best that I could
and she turned out okay, didn't she?
It could have been a lot worse.
These shoes are killing me.
You don't understand how hard it was,
those greasy children
with their lentils, their field mice,
always playing with fire,
their clinging fingers wrapped
around locks of their mother's hair
or magic tree branches,
their grubby fists full of crumbs.
Hard to shake them loose
no matter how I comb their hair,
how many apples I feed them,
how many times I send them into the woods.
They never blame their father
who brought me here, to a house
full of strangers, where even the servants
worship images of the dead.
I say, make room for the new.
About the Author: Jeannine Hall Gailey's poems have appeared in The Iowa Review, Rattle, The Columbia Poetry Review, and other journals. She is the author of one collection, Becoming the Villainess, and one chapbook, Female Comic Superheroes. She lives in Seattle. For more information, visit the author's blog.
Copyright © 2006 by Jeannine Hall Gailey. The poem first appeared in Becoming the Villainess (Steel Toe Books, 2006). It may not be reproduced in any form without the author's express written permission.