The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Saturday


Ladders
By Elizabeth Alexander


Filene's department store
near nineteen-fifty-three:
An Aunt Jemima floor
display. Red bandanna,

Apron holding white rolls
of black fat fast against
the bubbling pancakes, bowls
and bowls of pale batter.

This is what Donna sees,
across the "Cookwares" floor,
and hears "Donnessa?" Please,
This can not be my aunt.


Father's long-gone sister,
nineteen-fifty-three. "Girl?"
Had they lost her, missed her?
This is not the question.

This must not be my aunt.
Jemima? Pays the rent.
Family mirrors haunt
their own reflections.

Ladders. Sisters. Nieces.
As soon a live Jemima
as a buck-eyed rhesus
monkey. Girl? Answer me.

--------

Elizabeth Alexander was in grad school at the University of Pennsylvania while I was an undergraduate; I took two classes with her, an 18th century literature class taught by Paul Fussell and a craft of poetry seminar taught by Daniel Hoffman. I met her again, briefly, at the University of Chicago, where she arrived to teach just as I was leaving the Ph.D. program. She was very smart and funny and has since been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and I am totally thrilled to have read that she's going to read at Barack Obama's inauguration. *fangirls*

It was very gray and dark and rainy, and it's a good thing the solstice is this weekend or I'd have a serious seasonal affective disorder issue. It's easier when it's snow, which I hear that a lot of other people are getting, but not us. I wrote a review of Next Gen's "Future Imperfect", yelled at one of my kids about interim grades that suggest he's been lazy, and used a cat asleep on my leg as an excuse to lie around like a lox, reading photography magazines. *fires self* Here, have some National Zoo animals:















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thefridayfive: High School/College
1. What decade did you attend/are you attending high school or college?
The '80s.
2. What clothing fashion from that time are you glad/do you wish went out of style? The '80s were the height of American fashion! Leg warmers, rubber bracelets, big hair accessories, add-a-bead necklaces!
3. Do you still listen to the music from your high school/college years on a regular basis? The '80s were the height of American music, too! Madonna! Duran Duran! Pat Benatar! Cyndi Lauper! Wham! John Hughes movies theme songs! Who would ever give that up, unless they were lucky enough to be in high school when disco was peaking?
4. What hairstyle/hair color did/do you wear during high school/college? I've never been fashionable, and my hair has always been boring brown. I tried very hard to pull it straight.
5. What was/is "the cool thing to do" while in high school/college? Besides get drunk and get stoned? Hee, I have never been remotely cool, so I wouldn't know.

fannish5: Name five characters who would make terrible parents.
1. Remus Lupin, Harry Potter
. See Deathly Hallows; I rest my case.
2. Denny Crane, Boston Legal. This is not entirely fair because was have canonical evidence of his weaknesses as a parent, but even if we'd never seen Donny, I'd vote that his ego makes him a terrible candidate.
3. The Doctor, Doctor Who. If she didn't appear fully-formed and self-reliant like Jenny, she'd be a goner, or he would. (Yes, I know the Doctor had a family once, but I submit that whatever happened to them when Gallifrey burned was probably inevitable one way or another.)
4. Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean. That's assuming the unfortunate mother could find him in the first place so he could disappear for long intervals and return to cause havoc.
5. Kathryn Janeway, Star Trek: Voyager. Watching her with Seven of Nine, trying to turn the girl into precisely what her own ego craved, made me sincerely glad that she never reproduced.
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