Veronica Patterson


—for my mother


Margaret is a field.

In the field goldenrod thickens. Weeds grow so tall

that by August you can’t see.

Margaret is a path through the field and she is where

the path disappears.

Margaret is the house with the red door and the room

with the maroon floor, where four children sleep a troubled sleep.

When they wake she sends them outside and they raise a calf,

a collie, each other.

Margaret smokes so she can see each sigh. She smokes constantly.

The ashtrays overflow. Later, as therapy, she will make ashtrays.

Margaret is a dream Margaret once had. Margaret drinks toward the dream

she can’t quite forget and doesn’t dare remember. She wakes

to choose sleep.

She is a wrong turn Margaret took or several turns. She is bad about


Margaret is not a door that opens nor cruelty nor a bed nor forgiveness.

But she can be forgiven.

I repeat, Margaret is a field and a path through the field and the point

where the path disappears. She will not come to find you.

Because she will not come to find you, you start out deep

in this gold and weedy field.

From Swan, What Shores?


© Copyright Veronica Patterson 2018. All Rights Reserved