There are volumes of books dedicated to the art of interpreting poetry. And often, poetry is a way for writers to re-interpret the world around them and search for understanding. Writer Christianna Fritz' poems "After the Proposal," and "Meeting Her," do exactly that.
The first poem explores the motives and complicated lives of characters in another, longer piece by Fritz. The second is a re-imagination of her grandmother, whom she never met, and what her life was like on the family farm.
After the proposal
Hunched over a bucket
peeling potatoes, she knows
I've accepted his proposal.
No diamond, no flowers,
just a question and an affirmation.
Brown dirty peelings making her hands
appear all the more delicate
soft petals shaken from a tree
in a land without a war
where I could love her
spin gold from her hair like
fairytales she writes for me
in the margins of old books.
But here she is, peeling potatoes
when I tell her what she already knows,
that I'm engaged to be married,
after kissing her just yesterday
in the barn with peeling paint.
There's a dream I have
where I'm on Opa's abandoned land
I look down the well and just see
Grass is overgrown
scratching my legs
as I circle the trees and
enter one of the barns.
There are the usual books
stinking of mildew,
broken chairs covered in bird droppings,
a bag of old rags stained by car oil,
and a golden box.
I see my Oma,
but she's the size of my palm,
eyes the size of a needle's
a red dot for a mouth.
She's living and breathing,
herself, but smaller.
She simply tells me a story
about when she was a girl
in the woods burying a pebble,
believing a mountain would grow there.
That's the point where I wake,
feeling as if I'd finally met her.
Christianna Fritz is a transplanted Milwaukeean who is now a children's bookseller and over-caffeinated writer living in Minnesota.