My Blue-Eyed Girl by Sue Stern

My mother’s arms were strong enough to hold you

as you pushed backwards

your body unlike other babies’

curving inwards like a shell.

She told you stories

about Georgie, the boy in a picture

cut from a magazine

and pinned to the wall of her tiny kitchen.

She fed you scrambled eggs and rusks

and sang nursery rhymes.

The only way you could speak was to shout

spitting food across the floor

but she laughed, holding you closer

my handicapped blue-eyed girl

with those extraordinary lashes sweeping your cheeks

and my blue-eyed mother, perhaps

from the icebound edge of Arctic Russia or from the steppes

laughing together, singing, each in your own way.


And my mother told me to wear make up

dress in vivid reds and blues, use perfume

so that I would light up your world

as you illuminated ours.