Sunday, May 4, 2014


A few months ago, I was looking for a birthday gift for one of my young friends. A display at the front of Bookbug had just what I needed, a splendid picture book. I then wandered around the store a bit, and found a basket labeled Poems for your pocket. It contained papers, the edges cut with pinking shears, each the right size for its poem. I picked one up (from the top of the pile), and shoved it into my pocket (as per instructions).

Back home, I pulled it out and read The Hedgehog, by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. It was a poem of folklore -- of a hedgehog growing in the womb with the baby -- and it caught my fancy. The next time I was at Bookbug, I looked for the collection with that poem, and was not disappointed. I found Lucky Fish on the poetry shelf, near that basket, and brought a copy home with me.

I shared Aimee's poem Mosquitoes in an earlier post. Here's another from her book:
by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

The only year I don't remember the turkey
was the year I first dined with the man

I would marry. Blessed be the bowl
of sweet potatoes, mallow melted

in a pool of swirly cream. Blessed be no
seating assignments so I could sit

next to him. Around the table: a physicist,
an engineer, a philosopher, another poet,

a harpist. There were others too, but
I don't remember what weepy thanks

was offered, what linens, or whether
the china was rimmed with a neat print

of ivy or gold. But I've committed the soap
and clean blade of his neck to memory.

I know the folds of his oxford, a bit
wrinkled from a long drive. During dinner,

the physicist said A cricket won't burn
if it is thrown into afire. Everyone laughed.

Some wanted to find a cricket to see
if it was really true. But this man—the man

I married—he grew quiet. Concerned. He's the kind
of guy who would've fished the cricket out of the flame.
This poem makes me think of my Jim. He is clever and wise, and he is loyal and patient. He is loving, and he has a tender heart - a heart that would care for the cricket.

I am so thankful for his goodness and his love.

And for his heart, that cares for our girl

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