For Annette

abstract 2

By Jenni O’Rourke

I’ll be conveniently Catholic,
marry in the church so I don’t break dad’s heart.

I’ll start wearing bras with wires,
not the hippie kind with weak straps and no cups.

I’ll brush my hair before leaving the house,
so no one thinks I grew up without you,
curling my hair every morning until I was 7.

I’ll learn your pie crust recipe,
so everyone will trust me during the holidays.

I’ll remember all the deaths and births, gossip and folklore,
be the orator of my generation,
like you and your mother have been.

I’ll believe all of your ghost stories,
attest to the dream you had of Anwar Sadat’s
assassination the night before it happened.

It’s not time to fill your position
but to become a woman of your stature.
I’ve never feared or worshiped anyone
like I do you.

No deity could scorn or sooth me like you can,
while cradling my head,
reminding me of how that was always the trick
to get me to sleep.

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