I'm retiring this poem from my send-out book. I wrote it -- oh, about one million years ago -- during the one quarter at Everett Community College when I was invited to teach a poetry class. As I recall, my daughters were small, 8, 8, and 2 at most. It was an evening class, which was always a hassle to negotiate with child-care, PTA meetings, and homework time. Then, my husband was diagnosed with colon cancer, and ... so forth.

I missed a week or two of classes (it's a blur), but when I was in class I gave my students poetry prompts and I wrote with them. Long story short, I wrote 10 poems that quarter and it eventually morphed into my one-bad-poem practice.

So, here's the poem.

Swing the baby in her red chair
            on the blue swing. Swing

vine maple, swing Doug fir, swing cedar
            and gray clouds. Swing the gate

on its broken hinge. Swing salal
            and Oregon grape, swing dogwood

and snowberry, mosquito and crow.
            Swing crow’s caw, swing

the scream of a stellar jay, the bounce
            of a flicker. Swing rooftop

and street, children swinging away,
            swinging longer, later, higher,

their dizzy world reeling,
            metal a blue squeal.

Swing what you’ve got, swing
            all you’ll let go. Mother,

love vertigo—
            swung, swayed
                           and sung.