Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Tenderness

Last night the animals 
beneath her window 
crept out of hiding 
to comb the dirt 
from each other's fur.

Rising to watch, 
she discovered the lilacs 
lit from below by ivory vinca. 
The street on the other side 
of the trees continued 
to contain its passing cars; 
tenderly her teeth 
let her tongue rest 
against their curving backs.

Tonight when she lies 
in bed again, 
she will remember 
the one kind thing 
her grown daughter said today 
after weeks of scrutiny,

and the moment at work 
just now, when a stack 
of Day-Glo folders 
cascaded over her desk, 
thrilling the white cubicle
with their descent.

Credit


Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. Copyright © 2002 by Erica Funkhouser. All rights reserved.

Author


Erica Funkhouser

Raised in Concord, Massachusetts, Erica Funkhouser studied at Vassar College and Stanford University

Date Published: 2002-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/tenderness