Foyers

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Foyers

Foyers

Katie Daley's poem provides the inspiration for today's Write a Poem.

"Foyers" by Katie Daley

Who knows, when I'm old, I might hang out in the foyers
of supermarkets. I can already feel the breeze
from the automatic doors billowing up my dress, keeping me
cool on summer days. There's an urgency to break out into song
as this happens, each upswell of skirt lifting my voice, crescendo,
forte, then down to piano as the doors suck shut

and my hem simmers back over my shins. In the living room,
after a few drinks, my New York grandmother unbuttoned
her blouse down to her slip and began to sing: See how my petticoats
flutter in the breezes?
My mother accompanied her on piano
while my father and grandfather gripped their armchairs
and sailed gleefully against the current of their hilarity:

bourbon, water, ice, time. Next door, the neighbor with dementia
is mowing his grass in the nude again. Droplets of sweat
glitter his eyebrows and pubic hair. See how
my petticoats flutter in the breezes? Eventually, someone
will call the cops, but for now I watch from the porch,
contemplating his caved ribs, his flagging buttocks, the way

he doesn't stop to wipe the rivulets as they meander into his eyes. 
I’m sure he sees something I can't, something not crucial
to this world that urges him on to the next. But he can’t quite
remember what it is. He pivots dutifully at the boundaries
of his property until the job is done, or until they come for him,
but I want him to keep going, not turn back, mow a wild stripe

of longing across every lawn on the block, grinding curbs,
spewing chewed twigs, caterwauling as he goes, zigzagging
the neighborhood towards whatever it is that he's forgotten.

"Foyers" by Katie Daley first appeared in Cleveland Poetry Scenes: A Panorama and Anthology, ed. Nina Freelander Gibans, Mary Weems and Larry Smith. Bottom Dog Press, 2008. Used with permission of the author.

Katie Daley performs her poetry in saloons, street corners and schoolrooms across the USA. She has won two fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council and published her work in several anthologies. She is a member of Drifters Inn, a band that marries spoken word with slide guitars, mandolins and song.