For Jennie Ketler: 1902-1982

On New Years Day in Philadelphia
when I was ten and you were seventy,
the Mummers waved their plumes and stamped.
Ice fell in feathers from their capes.
Three boys would bear the Captain’s train
down to the judge’s stand on Broad,
a flask of whisky at their lips.
My father lifted me above
the crowd, the helium balloons.
His shoulders then seemed high enough.
I said that he should lift you too,
and laughed; with smoke-black braid, thick
shoes, you’d dangle almost to the ground.
But from your deckchair on the curb,
the view was blocked. You worked your foot
and said you’d seen it all before.
Robbi Nester is the author of a chapbook, Balance (White Violet Press, 2012). She has published poetry in Qarrtsiluni, Northern Liberties Review, Inlandia, Victorian Violet Press, Floyd County Moonshine, and Caesura, with poems forthcoming in Jenny and Poemeleon. Her reviews have appeared in The Hollins Critic and Switchback, and her essays have been anthologized in Easy to Love but Hard to Raise (DRT Press, 2011) and Flashlight Memories (Silver Boomer Press, 2011).

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