Free That Day


Free That Day

“so, that’s the Hall of Mirrors,” I said,
hoisting my little one by her waist–not so little–nine–
but no way could she tiptoe to the height of the paned
“where they signed some big treaties–um–”
darting looks-out–  “World War I–”

the red checks of her dress’s skirt bunched,
in my hold, into the flower sprigs of
the bodice, a pattern of mismatch like
our socks, after travel, our feet now
interlopers in the gravel that bordered
the razor-sharp lawn, there, on the other side
of the bunted rope
we’d just slipped around–

”Can you see?” to her older sister.
Balancing her too then
on my braced knee, against
the stares peering back at us–
our own in the blinked
sheen–so hot, a record
for Paris–
“They’re super tarnished

“Yeah, it is huge–”
But no guards, it seemed, the one day of the week
the Palace was closed,
not that saw us scooting back to the gardens–”really the best part–”
with its avenues of shrubbed poodle tail
where one or two capped men, sitting beside
the refracted bronze of dolphin leap and nymphic breast–
“and, at least, it’s not crowded–”
found sun translated to breeze.

That may be the day I remember best
of that whole trip
when the guidebook slipped past me
and we ended up seeing ourselves
in historical glass, as if we too
were a secret part of it,
nearly always the way
of women and young girls.



I realized once I started this that I had already written about the same incident!  (Agh.)  It has to do with a day we went to Versailles and the palace turned out to be closed.  But that poem is a little bit different and this is this poem–very much a draft!– and certain memories are rather indelible I guess.  At any rate, here’s my fifth this April, posted for the prompt of the wonderful Grace (of Everyday Amazing) on ‘mirrors’ on real toads


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17 Comments on “Free That Day”

  1. Grace Says:

    How lovely to see such history up close, without crowds, just peering closely as if part of the secret place ~ Enjoyed the details like dress skirt ~

    Thanks so much for participating Karin ~ Have a good weekend ~

  2. Quickly Says:

    Van Gogh/sunflowers
    once is good. Why not twice?

  3. Steve King Says:

    This is a wonderful poem, so effortless-seeming, and so filled with rich detail–and with the connections between mother and daughter. This is a favorite. Very fine writing…

  4. brian miller Says:

    its cool..i really like the end..seeing yourself in those historical lenses and feeling a part of the secret….sounds like a fun day together for sure…

  5. How appropriate in a place of history your memory remains of seeing yourselves reflected in its glass…and yes you are a part of its history…you came, you saw, your remembered.

  6. What a great memory.. Really I knew it was Versailles even though you never mentioned it explicitly. And to be there by yourselves breathing the airs – and seeing into those mirrors – I can understand it’s the best of memories.

  7. Sumana Roy Says:

    i love that historical glass…quite a thrilling experience…

  8. hedgewitch Says:

    Sorry to be so late getting here, k. Had some issues yesterday but better today. This is very vivid and the details are both intricate and poignant, the crumpled dress in a mother’s secure grasp, the poodled shrubbery, all building a clear picture of connection, not so much to the place or experience, as to each other, of being a unit, which is a very rare occurrence even in close families, responding to the same thing and echoing it off each other. I especially *especially* like the last stanza, where that feeling is strongest for me.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks, the earlier poem probably even more about that, but very direct–I’d not forgotten it when writing this but didn’t really focus on it. Interesting the tracks one makes in the brain. Hope you are feeling better and thank. k.

  9. margaret Says:

    The remembrance of the details of her clothes (I have a few I just can not part with – little boy plaid shorts that used to go to his ankles, etc) This is a lovely “in the moment” poem – I have a few “instances” that for whatever reason I will just always remember: The backs of their heads while we watched a Rev. War reenactment – blond wisps of hair blowing in the wind, my son had a red and white shirt on, my daughter a pink dress, their shoulders touching. Yes, mothers are sentimental, aren’t we 😉

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