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For Micha's Mother, Who Signs

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It is not poetry you fear, but poets,
their indelible brand
of words. How will your daughter
escape the mark men hanged
young women for in Salem?
I am nothing more than a teacher,
like you. See, I have removed
my shoes and socks. I am rolling
my trousers above my ankles.
No cloven hooves. Long feet and toes
like you and your beautiful daughter.

It is language that has won
her over, earth-bound words
walking orderly across the page
like children holding to
the rope attached to your wrist,
teacher and students
traversing the noisy street
at the crosswalk, with the light
of your fingers composing
the line your children read,
each syllable's afterimage trailing
your quick passage of hands
conducting the boys and girls
safely from one curb to the other.

Source: Poetry

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This poem originally appeared in the June 2002 issue of Poetry magazine

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For Micha's Mother, Who Signs

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