Judith Skillman

by Best Poem

The Rumble Seat

Not that I mind riding
these stories of the past,
bumping along into the country
with the cousins and uncles,
a bit of dirt kicked up
to lather my face…

Not that I mind hearing
the same stories over
and again, their nuance
finally clear as the streams
where they first festered
and began to own their lives
as we cannot…

Do me a favor, you
up there in the front,
go on driving slowly
past cows whose udders
sweep the grass,
willows and cypresses
the color of sun on rust…

Keep talking while I rest
a little longer
at the beginning of industry,
where the milk has its head
of cream and comes in green
glass, where the newspaper
riffles its own pages
in the wind…

Let my mother
be young again, courted
by men who want to take her
away from my father,
who has become strong
in his new body taken
from the guts of an engine…

Judith Skillman’s most recent book is “Heat Lightning, New and Selected Poems 1986 – 2006,” Silverfish Review Press. “The Carnival of All or Nothing” is forthcoming from Cervéna Barva Press in March, 2009. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, FIELD, The Southern Review, JAMA, The Iowa Review, The Midwest Quarterly, and numerous other journals and anthologies. She has been a Writer in Residence at Centrum.  Please see www.judithskillman.com for more information.