|"A white pony on the seventh floor"|
I am in love with this poem tonight. "My Mother's Tango," by my friend Ilya Kaminsky brings me back the occasional magic and strangeness of childhood. You can hear Ilya read the poem here.
My Mother’s Tango
I see her windows open in the rain, laundry in the windows—
she rides a wild pony for my birthday,
a white pony on the seventh floor.
“And where will we keep it?” “On the balcony!”
the pony neighing on the balcony for nine weeks.
At the center of my life: my mother dances,
yes here, as in childhood, my mother
asks to describe the stages of my happiness—
she speaks of soups, she is of their telling:
between the regiments of saucers and towels,
she moves so fast—she is motionless,
opening and closing doors.
But what was happiness? A pony on the balcony!
My mother’s past, a cloak she wore on her shoulder.
I draw an axis through the afternoon
to see her, sixty, courting a foreign language—
young, not young—my mother
gallops a pony on the seventh floor.
She becomes a stranger and acts herself,
opens what is shut, shuts what is open.