Jasper Number 9 Reads Poem Wiersema


Six barefoot children line the porch,
sneakers scattered on the grass like dance steps.
Baby girl pulls a hank of her hair from its rubber band.
Be still and look up! Daddy snaps, jerks the new camera off his eye.
Mama leans against the plum tree, whistles a soft warning.
Mona grabs little brother and pins him wiggling to her lap.
Stillness won’t be his thing until the accident in three years.
Randy rolls up his Wranglers — that was cool then, then it wasn’t, now it is again.
Big Sissy dangles a pocketbook, though it will be 1964 before she goes anywhere.
I clamp a book under one arm, and give Big Sissy an elbow with the other.
What can’t be seen:
There is a fence with four broken teeth.
There are pansies in the flower bed the color of black eyes.
Mama whistles through bones hollow as a flute.
I aim to break free in about eight more years.
If I’d known it would take 12, I wouldn’t have smiled.

by Libby Swope Wiersema

Libby Swope Wiersema is a freelance editor and writer living in Florence, SC. She is earning her MFA in poetry from Queens University in Charlotte.

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