“Bloodline” Michael A Griffith
Michael A Griffith’s poems often start with a simple observation and then take that idea or image for an exploratory walk. His focus often falls on family relationships. Making a packed lunch in “Tetris” prompts musings on parental roles,
” You’re off to work as I prepare
to shape thoughts that
shape words that
this gray January morning.
Time nobody’s friend,
Time everybody’s parent.”
The fragmentary shape of the poem represents the early morning mosaic of thoughts, one displacing or tessellating with another.
In “Textbook”, an old, handwritten note in a poetry anthology represents its author,
“I don’t know her now, of course, though we’d be
the same age.
I read ‘Her Kind’ knowing that while other
things feel more important,
for one semester at least, the thoughts of others
were almost as interesting as her own.”
‘Her Kind’ is Anne Sexton’s poem where the poet appears to take on the stereotypical roles of women and find they all require her to disguise or suppress her true self to take on a role. The implication here is that the note-scrawling teen, briefly found interest beyond herself which may have influenced her self-discovery. It’s left to the reader to imagine how she is now, grown and in middle-age.
“Bloodline” concerns memories of a daughter’s birth by c-section (gory details are spared) and the poem contrasts the new parents sense of wonder at the newborn with the busy recording of statistics that the medical staff are focused on. Another poem looks at a line of old trees weakened by storms as the landowner tries to sketch them before they are felled. Wryly, “Listening to Johnny Cash” observes,
“I can only understand about every third word
that Arthur says, but it’s alright,
Johnny says enough for three men”
Occasionally the tone becomes elegiac, but never sentimental. “Bloodline” is a series of wry musings on domestic life and relationships that ask readers to look again at the familiar and question it.