One Day You Finally Say Yes
After years of trying, wedging
straw into gaps, frosting
over the cracks
one morning enough
reveals itself as enough
you rub your eyes, open
your palms finally
and bone ear
your crows’ feet, cobwebs in corners,
are lace, your body
a substantial claim
so that grandbabies
and morning birds
and parking-lot kindnesses
succumb in their orbit
to your pull--
At Age 50, She Buys Pink Roller-Skates
OK, OK, it was cliché--
the Mormon housewife budget version
of the mullet and Harley, the dramatic career change.
Which is to say, midlife crisis.
But it was something else, too.
For one thing, it was spring.
After an ugly winter, a winter of ugly
politics and ugly disease, and ugly
politics about the disease,
and diseased politics and chronic unease,
the eye yearned for light, for bright,
and so when she saw that black was out of stock
she knew that pink was fate, kismet,
exactly what the universe intended.
Bright pink, with lemon laces, looking
like candy, those Laffy Taffys in the bottom bin
at the 7-11 she’d passed every day on the way
home from school, 3-for-a quarter and 3
would last until she got home,
mouth sticky with sunshine,
those days before she’d lost “play”
because play had become her job.
These skates would feel like candy, she thought,
and clicked to add-to-cart the bright
pink wrist guards and knee pads, too,
knowing she would be a Spectacle in her suburban
cul-de-sac but daring herself like a teenager
at a stop light on Main, 10 p.m. on a summer night,
a car of cute boys in the next lane.
A week later, her teenagers held up
cameras, laughing, as she skated
around the kitchen island to disco tunes
like a breeze from a new direction in May.
that she used to sing at the top of her lungs
sometimes. They remembered
that she was pretty.
My Friend’s Marriage is Failing,
But I’m Not Supposed to Know
Two women doing lunch.
A partial list of things
I’m supposed to know about being a woman:
how to wear a scarf, how
to enjoy salad, how to walk in heels,
how to reach across this table
and touch her hand.
Someone across the room
would think we are close--
are we close? She hunches
under her burden but bounces
her voice brightly, all bubbles,
and polk-a-dots. Nausea
makes my fork heavy. Stupid salad.
I read an article yesterday claiming
people in conversation modulate the music
of their voices: major and minor keys accord-
ing to the topic, according to their love.
Love is my bringing her here--
though I knew it was simply a front-
row ticket to a performance—and love
is her coming. Which of us is
doing a favor? When I drop her off, watching
her back as she unlocks
her lonely front door, I glance
into my rearview mirror, see
spinach stuck between my two front teeth,
which she must have noticed
and didn’t mention.
Darlene Young’s poetry collection, Homespun and Angel Feathers (BCC Press, 2019), won the Association for Mormon Letters prize for poetry. A recipient of the Smith-Pettit award for Outstanding Contribution to Mormon Letters, she teaches creative writing at Brigham Young University. She has served as poetry editor of Dialogue journal and Segullah. Her work has been noted in Best American Essays and nominated for Pushcart Prizes. She lives in South Jordan, Utah.