Page 13


BOOKS & THE CULTURE Four Years Old with Mother and Eternity I lean to the far side now I walk past windows, look at my stomach in profile, think of the things I didn’t eat today apple pie and pumpkin pie, the cheese on my turkey sandwich. In the morning mirror, I see rings around my neck. I think of jowls falling, shaking, the underside of arms shaking, and I’m sure it isn’t true. The first size dress I remember, 6x shopping for shoes when you put your feet in the x-ray box the shoe size 6 like the dress size, I am still that child who reaches for the fading mother, she with the rings around her neck, the belly. I run home movies and see her younger than I am now. Little, I circle the chair where she cradles the new radish of a baby. I pat her shoulder and smile at her in my red cowboy hat, her red lips smile, her hair golden. My hair gleaming black, her white teeth, my white teeth, her blue eyes, my black eyes. We smile and we are there on the film forever and in each other, not these bodies sliding down our bones. Behind my eyes I am not mother but the child lost where time hides us in bodies not our own. Little Lies Your arm looked as big as a rolled roast. We didn’t have anything to talk about, and time was sliding away so fast. I’m sorry, I just didn’t know how to say it. There was so much pretending going on, I didn’t know where to put the truth. I just see that arm resting on the seat of the car next to me, and the two of us opening and closing our empty mouths. Fran Hillyer Fran Hillyer is a poet and teacher of creative writing and English at the Episcopal School of Dallas. She is winner of the Texas Excellence Award for Outstanding High School Teachers. Currently a Ph.D. candidate at U.T.Dallas, she is the wife of John and mother of Nathan and Matt the Cat. Daniel Durham, winner of the Austin Book Award in 1990 for Song to Tame the Storm & Other Poems, recently edited a festschrift volume \(forthcoming from a Canadian press in Auwho teaches at U.T.Austin. Durham currently works as a carpenter in Lubbock. Naomi Shihab Nye 30 THE TEXAS OBSERVER JULY 21, 2000