The Jaw

A week ago I ran this silly Who ARE These People contest, mentioning that line of kings the Hapsburgs with their mighty chins. I always think of those guys because I have a bit of a chin myself: they called me Dish Face in high school.(Prominent forehead, prominent chin, no nose to speak of, you get the picture.

The chin I got from my mother who stuck hers way out to make the world’s most disapproving face. I in turn gave it to my daughter who  I understand uses it in workplace situations to signify an immovable stance. (“Oh our poor boss!” a colleague was heard to say on seeing him in her office. “She’s chinning him!”

I just spent a little time looking up mandibular prognathism which is what this is called and found some dandy images, like this one of Jay Leno who has it. And these are two pictures taken 90 years apart of my grandmother who died at 31 and that same daughter who, God willing, will get to live three times that long at least. Same profile, isn’t it amazing?

But  that’s not why I bring up the Hapsburgs today. I bring them up because in my book  we are now officially in SPRING what with last night’s time change . And anticipating that return to warm and remembering those old Spanish kings brought to mind this wonderful poem I have long adored. It’s by Maxine Kumin, and it’s about love and our brief,  brief lives. Give it a read. The image of the little frogs right down to the tender brave ending, ahhh!

Love, we are a small pond.

In us yellow frogs take the sun.

Their legs hang down. Their thighs open

like the legs of the littlest children.

On our skin waterbugs suggest incision

but leave no marks of their strokes.

Touching is like that. And what touch evokes.

Just here the blackest berries fatten

over the pond of our being.

It is a rich month for putting up weeds.

They jut like the jaws of Hapsburg kings.

Tomorrow they will drop their blood

as the milkweed bursts its cotton

leaving dry thorns and tight seeds.

Meanwhile even knowing

that time comes down to shut the door –

headstrong, righteous, time hard at the bone

with ice and one thing more –

we teem, we overgrow. The shelf

is tropic-still. Even knowing

that none of us can catch up with himself

we are making a run

for it.  Love, we are making a run.

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