Nancy Klepsch

Mama I see your daughter

Mama I see your daughter
Your tall String Bean
Your oldest one
walking proudly
toward my classroom
like she is Yoruban or from Dahomey

Mama you should read her essay
Mama she can write

Mama she imitates me
cracks me up and talks about you

Sometimes she runs away

She strides over the fence
like an Olympic hurdler
doing the 440 in under
one minute

Lands on your doorstep
out of breath as you suck
on the pipe that took her away

She could throw my ass to the dogs
for a good day with you and I
would help her pack
if only you would get clean and well

Fourteen years of feeling like an
orphan makes her
pull fire alarms
jump out of windows
cut herself

Mama your daughter and I
swim in rivers of poems
made ancient deep and wide
by elders we’ve claimed

Mama she mothers her poems
and the poems I write
are my sons and daughters
who never forget to call or write me often

Mama String Bean is old enough
to raise you so I figure
now we’re clean


Nancy Klepsch is a poet and retired high school English teacher.  She has been published in Fence and online in Barzakh and the Hudson Valley Writers Guild/Albany poets as well as in many online and print publications. She has exhibited or curated public poetry installations throughout the Capital Region of Upstate NY; some of these installations received grant awards from Breathing Lights, the New York State Council on the Arts via its community-based arts grants program, the City of Troy, NY and the Albany International Airport. god must be a boogie man is her first published book of poems and is available directly from