Five daughters, in the slant light on the porch, are bickering. The eldest has come home with new truths she can hardly wait to teach. She lectures them: the younger daughters search the sky, elbow each others' ribs, and groan. Five daughters, in the slant light on the porch and blue-sprigged dresses, like a stand of birch saplings whose leaves are going yellow-brown with new truths. They can hardly wait to teach, themselves, to be called "Ma'am," to march high-heeled across the hanging bridge to town. Five daughters. In the slant light on the porch Pomp lowers his paper for a while, to watch the beauties he's begotten with his Ann: these new truths they can hardly wait to teach. The eldest sniffs, "A lady doesn't scratch." The third snorts back, "Knock, knock: nobody home." The fourth concedes, "Well, maybe not in church. . ." Five daughters in the slant light on the porch.
Reprinted with permission of Louisiana State University Press from The Homeplace, by Marilyn Nelson Waniek. Copyright © 1990 by Marilyn Nelson Waniek. All rights reserved.
Born in 1946, Marilyn Nelson is the author of over eight books of poetry, as well as many collections of verse for children and young adults. She served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2013 to 2018.
Date Published: 1990-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/daughters-1900