I Am the Petals by Christine Redman-Waldeyer


“I Am the Petals” by Christine Redman-Waldeyer


I’m not the mechanic, the machinist
like my maternal grandfather,
nor the carpenter
like my father and his father.

No, I am a girl first in pigtails,
then two long brown braids,
a silhouette of everything
dark in our ancestry.

I am the poet.
I am the birds I feed,
the time I squander
thinking of all the things
we shouldn’t be,
then all the things
we could be.

I am Eden.
I am Eve.
I pretend I’m Adam
but really, I am the petals
of the Japanese cherry tree.
I like to dance.
I like to ride the sound
of the distant train
or ocean
or church bells.

I like to rub
the earth between my fingers
and seed
and weed.

I like borders.
I like to bring rocks
from distant places,
arrange them as a garden.
I like summer.
I like the dandelion.
I like the clover.
I like to pick them near the root
from the lawn and knot them.
I like to wear them,
crown myself the wild child.



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Christine Redman-Waldeyer Artist Statement: 

I came from the NJ suburbs, from a struggling middle-class family at the shore. The lack of money underscored every aspect of our lives. It wasn’t until my late twenties that I learned about my grandmother’s immigration from Germany, learned of my grandfather’s Spanish origins, anchored myself in my ties to early Dutch and English settlers and how that intertwined with a Native Indian ancestor. I discovered through self-reflection that in poetry, I cannot change events and happenings but I can change my outlook, the way it can and continues to shape me in the last lines of my poetry.

To me, being part of the AROHO circle means to be part of a larger worldly community of women. Growing up at the Jersey Shore and knowing the ocean through my father’s former Marina, I think of being part of this circle as being part of an aggregation, a gathering of fish that contains different species but aggregate because they feed on the same nourishment or swim together looking for protection. For some of us, I also see us as single species of fish – swimming in aggregation called s Shoal.

Author: A Room of Her Own

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