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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, May 13, 2016.
About this Poem 

“I started ‘Saturday’ while visiting a friend who was planning a trip to her family grave plot and finished it over a year later in my childhood bedroom. Something akin to the mixed intimacies and estrangements of those circumstances infused the experience that occasioned the poem, which is, to my mind, about presence and absence and how each can sometimes seem like the other.”
—Margaret Ross

Saturday

It was, it was explained to me,
a holiday to enter spring
while honoring the dead
and so its celebration was

a picnic in a cemetery. Flowers
and fruit and fish
cooked as her father liked
and a kind of pastry

that had been her uncle’s
nickname. Her aunt was
bringing paper iPhones, purses
and a little villa just for fun

to burn. I passed carts
selling them as I walked up
the slope behind the city
hospital. A child

climbed a parked car
shouting that he was
a horse. I took
a picture and the colors

on screen looked richer, less
treacherous. Downhill
a stadium surrounded
by white trailers. Underwear

hung from the clotheslines.
I took a picture of myself
but I did not appear
the person that I was.

The picnic would be
nearly done. She’d said
they’d leave behind
chrysanthemums

made of cloth to last
and scented so they smelled
not like chrysanthemums
but like a woman.
 

Copyright © 2016 by Margaret Ross. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 13, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2016 by Margaret Ross. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 13, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Margaret Ross

Margaret Ross

Margaret Ross is the author of A Timeshare (Omnidawn Publishing, 2015).

by this poet

poem

The socks came in a pack of five.
What is the most boring subject
possible? Translucent blue
with punctures pierced to shape
a star around the ankle.
I carried them along the aisles
as if I needed them. I fingered
lacquered dishes and the rubber heads
of mallets, crystal

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