Limits

By Eleanor Ross Taylor 1920–2011
Only he
Remembered the day we met
And only I
The day we said goodbye:
“Last day of  June, our first blackberry pie,”
He always said.
A wood fire in the summer kitchen,
The hottest day.... A squall in the bedroom.
        I can’t remember.

Nor he,
The December cube of  clay,
The storm the day before,
How the bare trees
Played Giant Step in the dawn wind,
Or how
On the other bed, rhythmically
Touching her knuckles to the wall,
My mother slipped forever into fantasy.

Only he
Remembered the spoken hate
(Its change too sheepish to impart)
Saw daggers still growing
In bristling clump out of my heart.

I beg you, kids—no memorials, please.
Don’t write poems to me. Don’t bother.
What we said we said. What’s unsaid lacks ears.
In this I’m like my father.


NOTES: This poem is part of a special section of Poetry magazine's May issue

Eleanor Ross Taylor, "Limits" from Captive Voices. Copyright © 2009 by Eleanor Ross Taylor.  Reprinted by permission of Louisiana State University Press.

Source: Poetry (May 2010).

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This poem originally appeared in the May 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

May 2010
 Eleanor Ross Taylor

Biography

Eleanor Ross Taylor was born in 1920 in Norwood, North Carolina, and graduated from Women’s College, now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, in 1942.  While studying at Vanderbilt University, Caroline and Allen Tate introduced her to novelist Peter Taylor, whom she would marry in 1943. Her poetry has been described as elegiac, lyric and feminine; writer Erica Howsare explains, “The southernness of her background . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Men & Women, Family & Ancestors

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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