April 29, replay

I say “replay” because the prompt today, the penultimate day of the April poem-a-day challenge, was to write a poem based on a favorite line or image from a previous poem. I chose Just an Animal from last week, and chose the line: “Saving Both of Them.” Plus, I always love stories of salvation.

Madame Vigee-Lebrun and her Daughter, Jeanne-Lucie-Louise - 1789

Saving Both of Them

Something happened to
Betty’s daughter
when Betty was in prison.

(It was an 18 month stint for
moonshining during the
prohibition, was all.)

And while she was gone, her
little girl stayed
with relations
in Missouri while
Betty survived, somehow,
in Washington state prison.

When reunited at last,
Betty found her little girl
somewhat grown
and full of anger; an anger
that never left her
for the rest of her life.

Betty went on anyway,
trying her best
to love her girl,
but never again
reaching
her
heart.

But life goes on,
and girls grow into women
and Betty’s daughter,
at age 15,
presented her mother
with a granddaughter.

And then she left.

And Betty took that girl,
and loved her
and raised her as her own,
saving both of them.

***

(As a side note, a year later, my aunt was born, and raised with the first baby, my mother. The woman in the painting looks remarkably like my Great-Grandmother, Betty.)

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