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I’ll fill my wedding vase
with deep-veined lilies, harlot asters,
pollen will dust the table
where I mass them every week. I’ll gift myself
with all the books I left on bookstore shelves
insisting I had no room
for more. I’ll give away
clothes, everything beige
and gray—from now on
it’s crimson, teal blue, I’ll be known
for my chiffon scarves. I’ll have
twenty people for dinner
and make roast duck with cherries
even though the recipe has verbs
like deglaze and julienne.
I’ll grow my hair to my waist,
wear hammered-silver earrings.
If my son buys drugs on every corner,
if his face grows gaunt
and the bones on his wrist
seem too fragile for the weight of a hand,
I will learn French,
I will spend a month walking
through small country villages in Bordeaux,
stopping each evening for wine, a meal.
Copyright 1991 Wendy Mnookin. First published in To Get Here (BOA, 1991).
Wendy Mnookin’s books include Dinner with Emerson (Tiger Bark, 2016). She lives with her husband in Newton, Massachusetts, where they raised their three children.