I understand the present
re-writes the past, how memories
change form and color
seen with new eyes.
The adored spouse, caught cheating,
alters the history of the marriage.
Small acts of selfishness,
once background, now loom large.
After years of rage and therapy, a parent
defined by break-downs and absence
is recalled as a laughing teacher of crafts.
I’ve learned to say that Caitlyn Jenner won gold
in the men’s decathlon. Elliot Page once played
a pregnant teen. Harder to redact
my last-born’s childhood,
erase the midwife calling out, A girl!
to find new context for our
matching dresses, wipe out heartfelt talks
on being female in this world.
Hard, but not impossible.
Clumsily, I practice our new past.
I love, have always loved,
my kid. I never had a daughter.
Alison Stone has published eight collections, including Zombies at the Disco (Jacar Press, 2020), Caught in the Myth (NYQ Books, 2019), and They Sing at Midnight (2003 Many Mountains Moving Poetry Award). Her work’s in The Paris Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, and many others. She won Poetry’s Frederick Bock Prize and New York Quarterly’s Madeline Sadin Award. She created The Stone Tarot.