PQR: Poems, Quotes, Readings

Note to Sappho

by Sandra McPherson

In an age when T-shirts are our libraries,
doing laundry is a literate job.

My daughter puts a clean one on
and her seventeen-year body is an open book.

But when she takes it off, on just another
virgin night, she says, Mom it's hard

to sleep against my breasts. Agreed,
but I don't curse them. Sometimes I curse

the mattress springs, get up and read
you under the lamp. Or clear-imaged lines

of my former teacher, lesbian,
you would like. Otherwise, no birds

will sing for two more hours yet.
I hand-do the indecipherable lingerie --

cups that would strain wine!
Then lie down and dream your life

linked in bumpy sleep with mine.

McPherson, Sandra. "Note to Sappho." Streamers. NY: Ecco Press, (c) 1988, p. 34.

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Last Update: January 12, 2003