“The Transfer” by Elise Hempel

Elise Hempel


His car rolls up to the curb, you switch
your mood, which doll to bring and rush

out again on the sliding steps
of your shoes half-on, forgetting to zip

your new pink coat in thirty degrees,
teeth and hair not brushed, already

passing the birch, mid-way between us,
too far to hear my fading voice

calling my rope of reminders as I
lean out in my robe, another Saturday

morning you’re pulled toward his smile, his gifts,
sweeping on two flattened rafts

from mine to his, your fleeting wave
down the rapids of the drive.

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


Elise Hempel: “I’ve written poetry since I was a child, but I suppose one of the reasons I keep doing it is that I have a soft voice that’s often misheard or not heard at all; writing poetry gives me a stronger voice. It’s also a place to put my feelings, my inner voice. I’ve had many feelings about being a divorced mother of an only child; so much of my poetry over the last eighteen years has been about my daughter and the experience of single motherhood. The poems have helped me get through some of the more difficult times, and they’ve also created something of a diary for my daughter to read and keep for the future.”

Rattle Logo