Where I come From
My father put me in my mother
but didn't pick me out.
I am my own quick woman.
What drew him to my mother?
Beating his drumsticks
he thought- why not?
And he gave her an umbrella.
Their marriage was like that.
She hid ironically in her apron.
Sometimes she cried into the biscuit dough.
When she wanted to make a point
she would sing a hymn or an old song.
He was loose-footed. He couldn't be counted on
until his pockets were empty.
When he was home the kettle drums,
the snare drum, the celeste,
the triangle throbbed.
While he changed their heads,
the drum skins soaked in the bathtub.
Collapsed and wrinkled, they floated
like huge used condoms.
by Ruth Stone
from New American Poets of the 90s
publisher David R. Godine, 1999