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Dear Gladys, a poem by Amy Genova

Dear Gladys
by Amy Genova

I’m sorry. Sorry mother named you Gladys.
Sorry you were so beautiful.
A Great White Pyrenees standing six feet on hind legs
when largess of paws draped over my shoulders.

Every day after school, you watched for me
from my second story bedroom window.
The stars of your eyes soaring in their field of snow.
Black stratus of widow’s peak spanning a forehead,

broad as a fleet. I am sorry for your pink tongue.
That you had papers, but not litters of snowballs
wagging round your feet. Mother fixed that.
I am sorry stepfather adopted you.

That we lived in a yard-starved townhouse. I loved
to bury my hands in your galaxy of fur. Sorry,
your big heart trembled when stepfather came home.
Mother named you Gladys.

After the divorce, they turned you over to a farm.
I’m glad. But I’m sorry too.

Amy Genova has been published in a number of journals: The Bad Shoe, 3Elements, R.E.A.L., Spry, etc. She also won the 2015 James Nash prize. She has strong ties to Indiana, having lived there and raised her family from 2000-2010. She now lives in Olympia, Washington, with her husband, dog and garden an hour and a half from her daughter and granddaughter. “Olympia is a beautiful place of rainbows, mountain, sea and forests. Also, broken hearts.”