Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: No Child of Earthly Kitchens

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

Sometimes what saves a child from life’s hardships is her imagination, as Mekeel McBride explains in today’s poem.

No Child of Earthly Kitchens by Mekeel McBride

I owned no raincoat and in the season of storms
was sent to school under my mother’s umbrella.
It was the color of pale sherry. The ivory handle
kept about it the faint smell of perfumed wrists.
It never carried me away although I wished it
often enough that I can still see beneath me.
people with their umbrellas like black morning glories
growing small on a polished street.
And I see, too, my house as tidy as the shoebox
for a hurt bird; the flat horizon.
filling out as purple and plump as an eggplant.
And when the dark arc of the umbrella sets me down.
and when my feet again touch stubborn ground
I am no longer a child of earthly kitchens.
but find the geometry of clouds closeted in my heart
and in my hair, the strange blue perfume of storm.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2006 MeKeel McBride. Reprinted from Dog Star Delicatessen, Carnegie Mellon, 2006, by permission of Mekeel McBride. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, Special Consultant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at mainepoetlaureate@gmail.com or 207-228-8263. Take Heart: Poems from Maine, an anthology collecting the first two years of this column, is now available from Down East Books.