Minnesota Poetry: Anna George Meek’s “Muscle Memory”
Anna George Meek has published her poetry in numerous national reviews. She is the recipient of an Academy of American Poetry Prize, two Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowships, a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist Grant, and has also been a finalist for the National Poetry Series (twice), the Minnesota Book Award, and the Yale Series of Younger Poets. Her first book, Acts of Contortion, won the 2002 Brittingham Prize in Poetry and was published by Wisconsin University Press. Meek lives with her husband and daughter in Minneapolis where she works as a freelance musician and as a professor of English.
Meek will read her poetry this Friday along with poet Richard Terrill at Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts in Fridley. Here's one of her newer works.
My husband is bathing our baby
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in the clawfoot tub. She rides its pleasures;
the porcelain ocean swirls and slaps.
Not water alone, uterine longing, such glistening
muscle; in my daughter, a nautilus
where her mind lives. Its chambers open
deep, each quiet curl of her neurons. Her body
rocks and leans into the silver underworld.
From the next room, I watch her
as I play the violin; its music wanders
the hall, the bath, where my daughter
doesn't realize she listens. I study
the curious ventriloquism of my hands.
Their fingers strike down like diving birds.
No longer able to speak, my father listens
to the music, eyes closed, and swaying.
Under his lashes, tears brim. He cannot remember
my name from my daughter's, yet always,
when he embraces me, his hands fall just so
between my shoulder blades.
I can hear my father's breath lifting and falling;
hear the pads of my husband's fingers
massaging the baby's skull. One day her body
will remember his hands, just so, and who I may be,
no matter. For a moment,
I lift the bow from the strings; sound
dissipates; rosin atoms spin away in clouds as they will.
- "Muscle Memory" by Anna George Meek. Reprinted here with permission from the author.