Ron Goudreau


I was walking behind my mother
and all of me was there in her wake
made of her flowing dress,
her clicking heels, the flop of her hair,
and I was behind her walking with no wake
for no wake was willing to walk in the wake of her.
I was walking behind her, and that’s all I was,
walking behind the sway of hips, the click click,
the sidewalk a platform unrolling in front of her,
the stores staring at her without a blink.

When I was walking behind her I knew only that,
and that this glorious day had held the hope of it,
and I had waited all day for her to say:
"do you want to come downtown with me?"
I would be walking behind her and she never looked back at me,
and of course I never looked anywhere but at her
walking in front of me, her nylon shirtwaist
printed with dark hieroglyphics swishing
when she stopped short or stepped off the curb.

I was walking behind her that day
just as I had walked behind all my life.
But my father never walked behind her,
and that was why he did not know her
as I and her mirror knew her,
looking from behind her as I did,
looking into and through her as the mirror did.
It was as if the tall arched mirror was gliding in front of her now
and each step she took was into its liquid,
her foot’s splash was the swish of her dress,
and she was stepping into it, and there I was bearing witness
to all of her as I walked in her wake,
wanting nothing more than to walk into her.

Ron Goudreau has been writing poetry for over 40 years, but with a 20 year hiatus from the mid 1960s through the mid 1980s when be began taking poetry workshops at the Writers' Center in Bethesda.  Since then he has had two chapbooks published: "The Flagellation" and "An Audible Touch" both published by Argonne Hotel Press, and his poems have also been published in Wordwright, and Beltway.   Ron has read his work at several local venues including Tacoma Public Library, The Writers Center, Bolt and Jolt, Pulp on the Hill, and Starbucks.  He is employed at the Library of Congress as the Editor of Subject Headings.



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