Beloved cartography, 
I know every line, every 
patch in this photography: 
the indented place between 
eyebrows where cancer grew 
and was cut out. Bare more than 
pink lines spread tributaries 
in the creamy part of blue eyes 
that once squinted by coal oil lamplight. 
Acquiline nose tilts in some tribe’s 
direction, cheekbones models 
would kill for, a smile that hides teeth, 
left over habit from a gold one in front 
she was ashamed to show. 
Ribbon lips spread in a smug smile 
because she holds a great granddaughter 
who sleeps snuggled where a breast 
used to be, another part of her stripped 
she would show you when she was in 
the nursing home, a huge map 
over her heart and she would say 
"Look at this, have you seen this?" 
(unacceptable terrain
Chin of no real significance 
though often stuck out to her husband, 
others who would control her, the world 
in general, but here, in this snapshot 
she is most herself holding a baby, 
binding heart to new compass.

Copyright 2000, S.W. Rickett 

 S.W. Rickett has been a professional dancer; an x-ray technician; a public school teacher; a writer since the seventies and is presently seeking the degree of Master of English, Professional Writers Program, at University of Missouri-Kansas City. She has published poems in (among others) New Letters, Nimrod, Chouteau Review, Number One Magazine, From A to Z.