By Deborah Digges
My mother danced with the Rockettes one spring
just to earn, she said, a little extra
money after her daytime job nursing
the sick in their homes, some of them dying
during the night. They called her Geneva,
who kissed them, danced with the Rockettes one spring.
Each time she locked arms she had a saying,
Compassed about by so great a cloud…, a
repertoire of greetings, smiles, bows. Nursing
required it, and getting through the evening
knowing any minute now. Stamina!
So she danced hard with the Rockettes one spring.
And in Missouri, years later, she’d sing
to the cancan over our wild hurrahs,
lift high her long, lovely legs, old nursing
cap flying, as though she were rehearsing
with her six daughters, who shouted Vive la
vie! as we danced like the Rockettes one spring—
breathless, she rocked the baby, flushed, nursing.