“Float” by Wendy Miles
An open door.
A child pauses on a step.
Her head turns, lifts to hear
her name float above the yard.
A child is an open door.
The child holds her breath
at the thought of what it means
to hook it to herself with a bright pin.
A child is a breath.
A name is a bright pin.
A low sink. An open window.
A mother leans at the low sink,
shirt off, breasts pressed to a towel.
Barely audible, Oh, she says, it feels so good
you just can’t believe it.
A daughter is an open window, a folded towel.
Shampoo the scent of ginger.
Warm water pours from a plastic cup,
spreads along the mother’s pink crown,
neck, around creases at the backs of ears.
The daughter breathes in the mother.
Water dribbles from the chin,
from the daughter’s fingers.
A mother is a low sink, warm water.
Animal, Animalis: to have breath.
Love is a plastic cup. Love is a breath.
Share your response to this work, in any form, here
Wendy Miles’ Artist Statement: “Float” was selected by poet Yona Harvey for the 2014 Patricia Dobler Poetry Award and was published in the anthology Voices from the Attic, 2014 – Volume XX. I call it my thousand-dollar poem, not only because it won that amount but because it took me to a new associative, imagistic landscape within my poetry—a place I have come to trust.