Minerva’s Daughter

If anyone asked Minerva Sayre she told them
Zelda lit up the Alabama sky
with gaiety the day that she was born –
the perennial party girl opening her mouth for the first time
to cry at the joy of being alive.
When she held that bundle of wriggling pink skin,
did she know then that her daughter’s vast expanse
would become a running theme in her life:
Zelda’s all too much,
Zelda’s merciless thirst
– how badly Zelda would want,
and how little the getting would do to sate it?
Did she worry about the man
who would turn her daughter’s passion
into ink for his pen;
the one who would steal Zelda’s words
when his own kept crumbling
like stale crackers between his hands?
Minerva Sayre knew something about cold men –
something she prayed that Zelda would never have to learn
– but when she did –
when her daughter changed her last name to Fitzgerald
and begged for the world to save her a waltz
from behind the hospital walls,
did she find a way to show her that lit up sky?
Did she find a way to tell her:
You do not just resemble the heroine,
sweet baby girl,
you are her –
you always have been.

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