Woman in Training

Frank Sinatra
Dean Martin
Dizzie Gillespie
Sammy Davis Jr.
my first mothers
from their laps
I learned the sharp glass of gendered landscape/ubiquitous winter
promising summer
Their songs came into my first kitchen
as the first wife
of my first husband
Their lips made cookies
and dressed my hips
torn open by my first child
in red and yellow silks
their songs propelled me to the door
with a kiss on my mouth

first wiping the cleaned floor
& tucking the depression
into the cupboard under the sink
as my husband’s steps pressed the porch
at 5 o’clock

I went to meet him at the door
so he wouldn’t leave me
for the companionship of men
who understood all too well
the breakdown
of women’s bodies even at nineteen
upon saying vows at the altar

my son the last to come
through my loins
prints songs he heard in the womb
onto a CD especially for me
Frank Sinatra
Dean Martin
Dizzie Gillespie

and plays Elvis
in the few minutes left
before the drive to the airport
& I am unaccountably wildly
anxious.

Copyright 9/20/98 Nancy Wallace
Ontario airport