Book Inspired Poetry [3]: Y by Marjorie Celona

It’s a story of a girl
left on the steps of a Y.
Growing up listlessly
wondering hopelessly why. 

An infant aware
soon as she opened her eyes.
A violent birth
and the impending demise.

Days turned to years
in wonder and impatience.
Nothing could ground her,
and thought that
love’s an indulgence.

She’s wary of anyone
who might show her compassion.
Always defensive,
second guessing their intentions.

To those who love her – 
fully and honestly,
she’s out of reach
all closed up tightly.

A slip of a girl
with one blinded eye.
Stronger than she looks
for a four foot nothing high.

She draws her strength
in knowing that she survived
the violent birth
and in reluctant love she had thrived.

Y by Marjorie Celona
Published August 1st, 2012
Read in March 2013

SUMMARY (from Goodreads):

“Y. That perfect letter. The wishbone, fork in the road, empty wineglass. The question we ask over and over. Why? . . . My life begins at the Y.” So opens Marjorie Celona’s highly acclaimed and exquisitely rendered debut about a wise-beyond-her-years foster child abandoned as a newborn on the doorstep of the local YMCA. Swaddled in a dirty gray sweatshirt with nothing but a Swiss Army knife tucked between her feet, little Shannon is discovered by a man who catches only a glimpse of her troubled mother as she disappears from view. That morning, all three lives are forever changed. Bounced between foster homes, Shannon endures abuse and neglect until she finally finds stability with Miranda, a kind but no-nonsense single mother with a free-spirited daughter of her own. Yet Shannon defines life on her own terms, refusing to settle down, and never stops longing to uncover her roots—especially the stubborn question of why her mother would abandon her on the day she was born.

Brilliantly and hauntingly interwoven with Shannon’s story is the tale of her mother, Yula, a girl herself who is facing a desperate fate in the hours and days leading up to Shannon’s birth. As past and present converge, Ytells an unforgettable story of identity, inheritance, and, ultimately, forgiveness. Celona’s ravishingly beautiful novel offers a deeply affecting look at the choices we make and what it means to be a family, and it marks the debut of a magnificent new voice in contemporary fiction.