The missus got home
from a women’s suffrage march
and shouting across the yard.
“I’m mighty pleased our Jimmie isn’t a girl.
Had he been born woman in this hell of a country,
and grown up to marry a fool
who throws up as much idiocy
as you do, Todd Seth Doyle,
I would turn murderess in a church lawn;
murderess, I tell you!”
Once she crossed our threshold,
I sent our Jimmie to his room,
grabbed a clean shirt and my old cane,
and got ready to deal with Doyle.
“No, my Séamus,” she said,
her cheeks wet with rage.
“If you go out there, I lose what I’ve gained.”
My confusion must’ve shown,
because she touched my face, and added,
“Lucy stayed in Washington,
and Doyle filled the paper with nonsense
about his wife leaving his bed
without his permission.”
I squeezed her strong arm,
kissed her lightly on the mouth
and took our Jimmie to the circus
just outside town.
But my heart was heavy;
the circus always made me think of ice,
of dead sons and of firing squads
aimed at my blood…
I was lost in thought,
when little Jimmie pulled on my sleeve,
and pointed towards the ice sculpture tent.
My heart sunk
to get squeezed between leather and sole.
I tried to bring our Jimmie closer to me,
but we raised a boy with his own mind.
“O! Look papa!” he said,
“See that strange cow,
with his horns in his mouth,
eating hay with his tail.
Isn’t it the mightiest of beasts?”
“It sure is mighty, son.”
We walked fast towards the animal,
and I was happy.
Our Jimmie didn’t only notice the elephant
in the world’s room,
but his eyes could also see
a truer beast.
Process Note: on March 3, 1913, thousands joined the Women Suffrage Procession in the capital of the United States, to “march in a spirit of protest against the present political organization of society, from which women [were] excluded.” I invented Jimmie’s mother, but I’m sure such women raised their fists in Washington, D. C. Her comment about Doyle’s nonsense isn’t fiction (see images). Séamus’ preoccupation with circuses and ice are an allusion to the first line in Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude: “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.” Yes, my muse truly enjoyed birthing this piece.
for NaPoWriMo with Magaly Guerrero 2015, Day 13 – Poetizing the News… of 1913: Write a poem based on a headline from April 1913. Please provide a link to your source, when possible. It would be interesting to read it after experiencing your poem.
“Truer Beast” and “Notice!” were extracted from DigitalNC