What else is an empty mother but a waist behind a sweater knitted to fit her at fifty, sixty, more? Adult tastes in the music of her time. Central London standing behind her and beyond, a barley field its green pods spilling open. Two pilgrim roses and two Rosa Glaucas and twenty more she knows by name. * You can never persuade one person that another is a liar. People prefer the liar. Honestly, with full knowledge. People prefer ruthless power because then they feel safe and they are. He seems so sure, he is so sure he could be a mother. * Her granddaughter fumbled frantically with the buckle on her red purse at the threshold, her head bowed ashamed to cry at their goodbye. * God grant me the eternity to complete this path: The same one four days later whipped in Didcot wind by the nuclear power plant. The shops and lifts in the Templar's Mall. Sitting on a wall outside a bank, waiting for a child.
“Passage” Fanny Howe from On the Ground.
Graywolf Press, 2004.
By permission of the author.
Fanny Howe (1940- ) was born in Buffalo, New York. She is the author of over twenty books, including poetry collections, novels and short story collections, and collections of essays. Her honors include the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize from the Poetry Foundation, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation.
Learn more about Fanny Howe at The Poetry Foundation