November 22, 1963
Zweibach cookies like stumps
on the high-chair tray.
On TV, a smiling Jackie wearing
a shocking pink Chanel suit
and matching pill-box hat, deplanes
behind her husband, the President.
I turn the TV off and go out to hang
laundry in the sun’s eye, getting work done
before noon gets stuck in the trees. The baby content
in his carriage, another child playing inside,
another inside of me. The work gets done.
Errands are run, bills paid, I turn on the TV
again to find out what’s happening in Dallas.
The tube flickers with light, then the screen fills in
I drop the clothesbasket, a jumble
of shirts on the floor, and the baby begins to kick
inside of me, the others to cry as I scream
out to Jackie. She is hatless now.
She is standing by the new President.
I stand there too— by him, by her, by our country—
bloodstained, dazed, and rifle-shot.
The miniature fire engine, careens to some far
emergency in another room. More clothes
need to come in, a damp chill will stiffened them.
I undo each pin and take them down. Now supper
must be started.