We discuss two poems by two authors: “elegy” by Jessica Hudgins and “Daddy Box II” by Rebecca Baggett. Jessica Hudgins is a poet and teacher who has just moved to Ednor Gardens from Charles Village, is working with her roommate on their backyard, and thinking about adopting a dog…
Jessica Hudgins is a poet and teacher who has just moved to Ednor Gardens from Charles Village, is working with her roommate on their backyard, and thinking about adopting a dog.
First, we discuss Jessica Hudgins’ “elegy,” an accurate grasp on the complexities of family relationships in which the speaker conjures childhood memories of her father and aunt. The poem depicts moments reflected on in gratitude, and recognizes the love and care in the lessons they taught her throughout her life. Despite how those lessons were initially received as a child, it is clear to us that the speaker expresses appreciation for both figures who helped mold her in very different ways. Hudgins offers a thoughtful comparison between the specific, mundane moments in life and the philosophical questions surrounding a child’s experiences, as well as what they all come to mean later on.
Rebecca Baggett attributes her life-long loathing of “real” shoes to her childhood at the beach and spends a great deal of time searching for flipflops with good arch support. She lives now in Athens, GA, where she can often find decent watermelons, though none of them are as good as the ones her daddy grew. She still loves to swim under the stars.
In “Daddy Box II” by Rebecca Baggett, we witness the brilliant redemption of the list-style poem! This piece is one that “incantates” with imagery and teaches you how to read it along the way. Going from a list to a narrative, it captured us with a broad portrayal of fatherhood and family life then left us to reflect on one lovely, very specific image of a cherished moment in a childhood.
With just us three Wonder Women at the table for this episode, we close out by talking a bit about the superhero film that recently made box office history!
Share your thoughts about daddies, Wonder Woman, and this episode on Facebook and Twitter with #WonderWomen!
Present at the Editorial Table:
Kathleen Volk Miller
when my mom and dad were doing the young-married-person thing
my aunt was always single so she babysat
she gave me cheerios
and I ate while she had her breakfast cigarette
and afterward we took walks
and I pointed out all the volunteers
which is what
my dad told me
you call a plant you haven’t planted
that by its own reseeding
appears where it is not needed
and I told her to wash her hair with cold water
another thing she knew
I had learned from my dad
she asked me
what’s so great about your dad you only learn from him
and since then I’ve been thinking
it’s not about greatness as much
as it’s about what sticks
jessie I heard on the radio that sucking it in isn’t healthy you have to fill your belly to breathe well
and other things that are beside the point
which is that my aunt is not old but she’s not well
she didn’t teach me any words about plants
or about how the body should be treated
but she questioned me
as anyone should be questioned
who is like the soil
and takes every small thing that’s offered
Daddy Box II
The locked box contains
a pack of L&M cigarettes,
a gray steel lighter,
a frayed deck of cards,
a brown beer bottle
with a peeling label.
Twist of black pepper,
bottle of BBQ sauce,
cup of dark coffee,
handful of watermelon seed.
A faded green cap,
a black metal lunchbox,
a scattering of wrenches and screws.
Pork rinds in an unopened
cellophane bag, the key
to an old truck, the truck itself,
mud-flecked on the fenders,
the tailgate dropped, loaded
with lumber for the playhouse
he’ll frame in a weekend
with his brother Bill for help,
Uncle Bill, with his crooked
grin, his thin frame leaning
into the wood, the skeleton
playhouse that will stand
unfinished for months, then
gradually fill with lumber ends,
old tires, half-used cans of paint,
the truck in which he will bring home
the two piglets you name
Wonder Woman and Super Girl,
piglets that grow into sows
fenced at the back of the lot
across the alley, sows you watch
while Daddy tosses buckets of scraps
across the fence, the fence where
you perch on a hot August afternoon,
eating watermelons split against
the truck fender, sweet, sticky rivers
of juice pouring down your arms and chin,
and you eat every bite, down to the pink
against the rind, then pitch the rinds
to the snorting pigs, who crunch and mutter
as they feast.
The whole of that summer
is in the box, including the night
you all swam in the little above ground pool
in the backyard, you, your sisters,
your father and mother, the night
he let you pile one after the other
on his back, then rose and fell across
the surface like a dolphin diving over
the ocean’s curve, while your mother
laughed in the darkness and you could
see only the outlines of their faces,
but you knew everyone was smiling.
There is that night, far at the bottom
of the box, the night you could imagine
what a happy family was like.