Second Story Bedroom
My mother was a second child,
the daughter born
five years after the favored son.
She spent weekends confined to
a second story bedroom, punished
for poor grades, instructed to dwell
on why Grandmother could not
love her: Not smart. Not pretty.
Not talented in any way.
She didn’t even have a nice smile,
not with that crooked incisor
on the left side beneath the gray eye
which always drooped just a little.
When my mother married at age 35,
Grandmother was livid, certain that refugee
from Lódź only lusted for a Green Card.
Yet my mother’s rebellious wedding did not unchain
her tight smile, always hiding that crooked incisor.
She remained the disappointing daughter,
brooding in a second story bedroom.
And some days, I sit with her, my left eye
drooping beneath Grandmother’s harsh appraisal.
How did Eve adjust
after leaving Eden?
Did she absorb
the pain of childbirth
as a reasonable price
for sweet bliss
suckling her breast?
Or did she spend
the rest of her days
missing the limits of Eden
where as long as she didn’t eat
from the Tree of Knowledge,
she would not be touched
by hunger of any kind?
About Jacqueline Jules
Jacqueline Jules is the author of three chapbooks, Field Trip to the Museum, (Finishing Line Press), Stronger Than Cleopatra (ELJ Publications), and Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String, winner of the 2016 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street Press. Her work has appeared in over 100 publications including The Literary Nest, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Glass, Beltway Poetry, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Gargoyle, and Connecticut River Review. She is also the author of forty books for young readers. Visit her online at www.jacquelinejules.com