Jennifer Stanley





Poet's Apprentice

The year I started kindergarten
my father enrolled at the university.
His genius for poetry and philosophy
attracted many,
and our home was often filled
with serious discussions.
My father's laughter and poetry
rolled through the house,
and when it reached me,
drawn as if by pipes of Pan,
I'd follow, creep into the kitchen
where the men sat,
climb onto my father's lap,
place my ear against his chest,
and listen to the deep rhythms,
vibrations kissing my skin,
as if getting closer to the source
would help me make sense
of the unfamiliar words he spoke,
sounds full of warm breath
lulling and rocking, his heart
pumping a steady pulse of syllables
upon my cheek,
as waves of watery imagery
surrounded and flowed through
my tiny body.
This is how I learned poetry,
by absorption,
how I learned to listen,
feel words,
and why, now, years later,
I nestle closer
to hear my lover's heart