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Patricia Smith Ranzoni


Say the Meadow was Our Mother

Hadn’t I the day before written
to withdraw “What Wealth Can Do”
not wanting that poem to find print
where it might hurt you, known to us only
by what it takes to own ancestral homes, known
to us only as they from away monied people
buying up the coast out of reach to locals, lost
to families but from afar? Now here you are
at the co-op talking Grange and seeds and
back to the land and oh my God when you ask
where home is and we say upriver
but our mother’s from the meadow not knowing
it’s your meadow and your country-girl hair
echoes your earnest eyes meeting ours
saying your folks were the ones that makes us
you lean to an embrace you seem to want
but I don’t dare, knowing our place, but
when I let that same want closer
saying what I would give to drink
from my grandmother’s spring again
there it wells in your eyes the same as mine.

Loretta! Patricia! Victoria!
Didn’t we all have a rich mother
but if we are to walk together
where generations have not, we must step free
from dread, tread with care, feeling
for overgrown fences barbed
with summers worked or played, gates
aged fast against going either way if
we are to honor the womb where muskrats
answer the same water we, and beaver
weave our stories into baskets breathing with truth
knowing better than we where to go from here.

                           Originally appeared in the author's book, Claiming.


Patricia Smith Ranzoni writes from one of the subsistence farms of her youth in Bucksport, Maine. Her unschooled work, published across the country and abroad, has been collected by Puckerbrush Press in Claiming (1995) and Settling (2000); and by Sheltering Pines Press in Only Human: Poems From the Atlantic Flyway (2005).

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