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2 OCTOBER 2016


DRAFT #2 of a poem

by Therese L. Broderick

for project Breathing These Words

Albany, New York (USA)



~ to give birth (literally, to give light)


Tonight I pledge to this venerable address

My words, las palabras, my voice, la voz.

Let us assemble a front porch shrine,

nuestro santuario: shining gold or silver


Picture frames that harbor silhouettes

Of immigrant couples who braced

These rooms, stairwells, porches, roofs,

Who died in front parlors, who gave birth


To children in wallpapered third-story

Bedrooms. Let us offer a yellow ribbon

For every soldier who kissed his mother

Goodbye from the sidewalk; and for every warrior


Missing in action, let us hold a vase cut

From crystal, or a bottle of brown blown glass

Filled with tap water and the blossoming

Stems of storm cellar roses.


Here I stand. Here you stand. We face

A vacant threshold, the sealed front door

To a once-upon-a-time dwelling—

Yesterday’s casa con vistas. But this evening


windows are brightening with lullabying

Light bulbs, smooth tubes, their soft throats

Pulsing bright & dim, breathing along

With the blinkers of overhead passenger planes,


With the flaring greens of lightning bugs

Who skim the grassy lots flowing

From the Hudson to the Mohawk rivers,

From the Normanskill to the Poestenkill.


Let us lay here a notebook of scrawled recipes

For every newlywed wife who had to flee

Another burning row house, leaving behind

Her grandmother’s first cookbook; and let us


Set down a hand-stitched doll or rubber ball

For every child who ever yearned to crawl,

Stand, walk, run, skip, hopscotch, or jump over

Ropes held taught by friends from down the alley.


Let us be quiet, too—un silencio nocturno

Inviting the placid moon, la luna de paz

Phase by phase to occupy this evening’s cradles.

Welcome mats, door wells, window sills, altars.



About ThereseLBroderick

Independent community poet living in Albany, New York USA.

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