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revised sonnet

Miss Coca-Cola 1943

For my grandmother, Isabel Blackwell Roberts (b.1925-1977)

“Passion moves inward, striking and blighting the deepest cellular recesses.”
	- Susan Sontag, Disease and It’s Metaphors

Your young figure cinched in by a woolknit,
striped bathing-suit, your fingers enclose
the waist of a coke bottle, dark and fit
as a tiny dressmakers’ dummy, poised
for another colored fabric pin. I hold
you now, in frame: wet-bark dark curls, long-legged,
painted lips, sun-sketched collar bones: the mold
that cast my father: born squalling, your third.

I wonder if you blamed “the dishwater”
when he noticed your papery skin, hands
painted in bruises.  Later, the matter
of collecting black curls from the wash-stand:
dyed flax-threads, shredding, five years of keeping
poison a secret: the cancer’s unfolding.

Original post by Whitney