“Emily on Tuesday” by Ken Holland

Ken Holland


Saturday night my daughter told me
how much parmesan
to mix in the Alfredo.
She prefers her fettuccine
al dente.

She is smug and confident
and in-my-face.
If we haven’t rented a movie
she’ll watch commercials

and point out which models
I should date.
Emily, I want to ask her,
how is it you know so much?

I mean, what did I know
at seven?

I want to ask her
but that’s not something
I can do
on a Tuesday.

from Rattle #41, Fall 2013
Tribute to Single Parent Poets

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Ken Holland: “When the poet Hal Sirowitz asked me what I sought to convey in poetry, I answered that I was trying to capture and interpret moments. Whether from my own memory, or incidents outside myself, or from the gauze of official recollection we call history. In one such moment my daughter, then seven years old, had remarked to me (divorced dad that I’d recently become) that while her mother was like a mother, I was like both a father and a mother to her. The poem that’s published here deals with all such moments of intimacy, but also those moments when that same intimacy cannot be shared.”

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