When our daughter D'Arcy was little, we lived in a rented stone cottage in an English village. Every day while she was at school, I used to commune in the attic with my trusty Underwood. There were a couple of things about that Underwood that had taken getting used to. One was that, unless you hit the keys with authority, they tended to stop short of the paper. The other was that, like all Underwoods, mine wouldn't be rushed. If I typed faster than it preferred, the keys would run into each other and I'd have to untangle them before I went on. Those were the days too, when making a mistake called for one of those erasers that looked like crested seahorses, which when you inserted them between two letters to rub out the middle one, often erased not just the offending letter but the paper it was written on. In spite of such technical problems, I stayed loyal to Underwoods until my last one broke in two when it got accidentally dropped. I wanted another but couldn't find one, so I went on to Olivettis (no substance), then Selectrics (too commercial, I felt like a legal secretary), then finally, after a battle with my anti-screen bias, to computers. Meanwhile, back in England, D'Arcy came in one afternoon and chirped, "Mummy, could I have some water?" Once I'd recovered from the disconnect at hearing my flesh and blood speaking a foreign language, I fetched her her cup and I sat her in my lap and told her the two poems that I, suffused with young motherhood, had written for her that morning, and her response to those made me wrote her one more. And look, here they come now:
Your mouth is round as the moon is round,
At which, D'Arcy scrambled off my lap, and here's the final poem: When I told you I wrote two poems for you today, you said, pleased, TWO POEMS! and looked in the cupboard. And there, somewhere among the Horlicks and the malted shreddies, I think you found them.
Copyright 2006© Lola Haskins
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