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Owens, Elisabeth, R. (ed.) / Encore: more of parallel press poets
(2006)

Oness, Elizabeth, 1960-
At the genetics counselor,   p. 46


Page 46

 
At the Genetics Counselor 
The clinical fluorescence allows no room 
for softer light or shadow. 
A glass of water trembles on the table. 
The notebook displays disorderly chromosomes: 
the proliferate migration of pairs 
like a marching band gone awry, 
an extra column in silent practice 
changing the symmetry of the whole. 
We must chart our family histories, 
make a tree of missing branches, 
bring all that weight to bear 
on an unnamed question mark. 
What happened to your Aunt Rea? 
A blackjack dealer in Reno, 
the last my husband heard. 
Peasant Irish on both sides, I believed 
myself a sturdy transplant. 
And when she calls with bad news, 
something very rare, something worse 
than we imagine, the teacups rattle 
on the shelf and branches knock 
against the house. 
The summer leaves turn silver, 
as if awaiting rain. 
Elizabeth Oness 
[previously published in Fallibility (Sutton Hoo Press, 2003)] 
Poet's Statement 
Motherhood is both remarkable and harrowing. 
46 


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