Family Reunion

Jeredith Merrin

 
The divorced mother and her divorcing
daughter. The about-to-be ex-son-in-law
and the ex-husband's adopted son.
The divorcing daughter's child, who is
the step-nephew of the ex-husband's
adopted son. Everyone cordial:
the ex-husband's second wife
friendly to the first wife, warm
to the divorcing daughter's child's
great-grandmother, who was herself
long ago divorced. Everyone
grown used to the idea of divorce.
Almost everyone has separated
from the landscape of a childhood.
Collections of people in cities
are divorced from clean air and stars.
Toddlers in day care are parted
from working parents, schoolchildren
from the assumption of unbloodied
daylong safety. Old people die apart
from all they've gathered over time,
and in strange beds. Adults
grow estranged from a God
evidently divorced from History;
most are cut off from their own
histories, each of which waits
like a child left at day care.
What if you turned back for a moment
and put your arms around yours?
Yes, you might be late for work;
no, your history doesn't smell sweet
like a toddler's head. But look
at those small round wrists,
that short-legged, comical walk.
Caress your history--who else will?
Promise to come back later.
Pay attention when it asks you
simple questions: Where are we going?
Is it scary? What happened? Can
I have more now? Who is that?
 
From Bat Ode by Jeredith Merrin. Copyright © 2000 by Jeredith Merrin. Reprinted with permission by The University of Chicago Press. All rights reserved.

Further Reading

Poems About Breakups and Divorce
"To Speak of Woe That Is in Marriage"
by Robert Lowell
The Aeneid, Book IV, [So, you traitor]
by Virgil
A Book Of Music
by Jack Spicer
After Love
by Sara Teasdale
Apart (Les Séparés)
by Louis Simpson
Chaos Is the New Calm
by Wyn Cooper
Coming and Going
by Tony Hoagland
Company
by Karen Leona Anderson
Dear Miss Emily
by James Galvin
Donal Óg
by Isabella Augusta, Lady Gregory
Footprint on Your Heart
by Gary Lenhart
Good Night
by Wilhelm Müller
Heart's Needle
by W. D. Snodgrass
I May After Leaving You Walk Quickly or Even Run
by Matthea Harvey
In Praise of Their Divorce
by Tony Hoagland
Man and Wife
by Robert Lowell
Multiple Man: Guest-starring me & you
by Gary Jackson
One Art
by Elizabeth Bishop
Pleasure
by Katie Peterson
Provisional
by Catherine Bowman
Remember
by Christina Rossetti
Sita
by Jason Schneiderman
The Gift
by Sara Teasdale
The Primer
by Christina Davis
The Vampire Bride [I am come—I am come!]
by Henry Thomas Liddell
This Was Once a Love Poem
by Jane Hirshfield
To Earthward
by Robert Frost
When We Two Parted
by George Gordon Byron
Poems about Divorce
Coming and Going
by Tony Hoagland
Ebb
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Failing and Flying
by Jack Gilbert
Good Night
by Wilhelm Müller
Hey Allen Ginsberg Where Have You Gone and What Would You Think of My Drugs?
by Rachel Zucker
In Praise of Their Divorce
by Tony Hoagland
Mag
by Carl Sandburg
Ring
by Melissa Stein
The World as Seen Through a Glass of Ice Water
by Dobby Gibson
Why should a foolish marriage vow
by John Dryden