Poems for Beatrice [in decades]



At ten you’ll be Bumble B, buzzing around on chubby hairy legs,
Forgetting you have exams the next day and
pulling your hair at the roots so that it will grow.
You’ll wish your hair was longer, but neither breasts nor boys
will call your attention. Instead, you’ll fall in love with the way letters
are arranged in a piece of paper and with
the heat of the freshly cooked meal at the school cafeteria.
You’ll master the monkey bars at age ten,
arriving home with bloody calloused hands.
Your mother will say, “Stop that! Young ladies don’t swing
from poles like monkeys!” (she’ll mean strippers).
You’ll break you wrist that winter
and stop swinging from poles after that.



At twenty you’ll be Beatrice, confidently walking the halls of an Ivy League.
Writing everything down in a tiny little notebook so that you don’t forget it.
Your hair will be tightly tied back into a sturdy braid; there’ll be no time to play.
Your boyfriend, the debater, will bring you hot coffee for all-nighters,
Not really knowing why it is you do the things you do or how you get them done.
You’ll master a 4.0 grade point average off the sweat of your brow.
Your mother will cheer on the other end of the phone, “I’m so proud of you, Bee!”
With a furrowed brow, you’ll insist she call you Beatrice.
You haven’t been a bee in a very long time.
The Debater will bring you hot coffee almost every night,
But it’ll wake up cold in the morning lacking lipstick stains.



At thirty you’ll be Mrs. Johnson, walking around a cold house in the morning.
You’ll clutch a cup of hot coffee to your chest and breathe in the heat.
Your hair will be short because long hair doesn’t suit you anymore
And with a wailing baby in the next room, who has time for anything else?
You’ll kiss your husband goodbye and in an attempt at comedy he’ll tip his hat.
You’ll stretch your skin over your teeth in an attempt at a smile you don’t mean.
The Husband will leave with a spring in his step, you’ll stay to clutch coffee cups.
You’ll receive a call from your mother in the morning, which you’ll not answer
And spend the rest of the day hard at work writing.
You’ll pound out sentence after sentence of philosophy gold
And you’ll earn the respect of all the Academia buffoons at the university.
Every time the baby cries you’ll pick it up.



At forty you’ll be Ms. Gillian, tying the amber buttons on Amber’s coat.
You’ll brush her long brown hair and listen to her stories.
There will be no monkey bars at her school.
You won’t know if you’re sad or thankful. She’s sad.
The ex-husband will have moved away and it’ll be just you two.
You’ll like this, Amber smiling up at you as you double check her notebooks.
No exams tomorrow. She will not forget.
Your mother will stop calling you Bee; she will have stopped calling you entirely.
You’ll be a respected professor and your hair will be growing.
Sometimes when people aren’t looking, you’ll pull it at the roots.



At fifty you’ll be Grandma Bea, smoothing Amber’s hair back in the hospital.
Her short brown hair will be plastered to her face and yours will have gray in it.
You’ll wonder if it’s too early for Amber to be a Mrs. Anything
And you’ll wish that you could help in more ways than you can.
There will be new talks of monkey bars and homework, new buttons to fasten.
Amber will move in with you after two months into a failed marriage
And you’ll brush her hair as she cries into your chest, a coffee cup between you.
Every time the baby cries you’ll pick it up.
Your mother will not call because she’ll no longer be there
She’ll be swinging from the poles in heaven.
Your face will have wrinkled and sagged and you won’t recognize yourself
The woman in the mirror will smile proudly back at you like an old friend,
But you’ll see your reflection better in amber buttons
And pink baby booties. 


Lista de imágenes:

1. Estelle Lagarde, "Chapitre 1", de la serie L'Auberge, 2015.
2. Estelle Lagarde, "Café Gourmand", de la serie L'Auberge, 2015.
3. Estelle Lagarde, "Chapitre 5", de la serie L'Auberge, 2015.
4. Estelle Lagarde, "Chapitre 6", de la serie L'Auberge, 2015.
5. Estelle Lagarde, "Douceurs roses et bleues sur chemise caramel
", de la serie L'Auberge, 2015.