Thursday, April 16, 2009
National Poetry Month: Father's Old Blue Cardigan
Sorry for the lag...been stressed out as of late: busy on campus, youngest has pneumonia...it's enough to make a girl tear her hair. And since most of the household management stuff falls into my lap, my nerves have been fricasee as of late...
Anyway off to beautiful words...Trying to celebrate this April Poetry Month Thang by scouring the world for GLBT (mostly T) poems about gender fuckery. This poem encapsulates some of the feelings I had when I began dressing as a young lad...wondering what feelings would arise when I played my mother in her long mirror. Though the author's experience is a sad one, it is another example of the power of empathy that crossdressing can offer.
Father’s Old Blue Cardigan
By Anne Carson
Now it hangs on the back of the kitchen chair
where I always sit, as it did
on the back of the kitchen chair where he always sat.
I put it on whenever I come in,
as he did, stamping
the snow from his boots.
I put it on and sit in the dark.
He would not have done this.
Coldness comes paring down from the moonbone in the sky.
His laws were a secret.
But I remember the moment at which I knew
he was going mad inside his laws.
He was standing at the turn of the driveway when I arrived.
He had on the blue cardigan with the buttons done up all the way to the top.
Not only because it was a hot July afternoon
but the look on his face—
as a small child who has been dressed by some aunt early in the morning
for a long trip
on cold trains and windy platforms
will sit very straight at the edge of his seat
while the shadows like long fingers
over the haystacks that sweep past
keep shocking him
because he is riding backwards.