Lost mother who lived well
in the return of experienced pain and passionate exchange you always took the extra steps off tall promontories preparing a quick descent to the low shelf, trajectories that left no way out
but to return silent as you
were. So I want to cry out: Homage to us, the remnants of a tender yet stilted touch
of midnight lapsing into lunacy
a crippled mind that wandered far flung from the usual whispers yet crept back alleys bearing gifts
we still carry. Still we fly
with you, transport defiance, well cast in the harden clay of life in barren places.
When I was twelve,
I had a beagle spotted black, brown, white. She relished in, fell under the spell of every city smell
so much she didn’t
complain when a sly stranger picked her up stuffed her calmly under his arm like groceries. Silenced, startled not a yelp was heard down the block where my mother waited patient for her return.
I’ve always wondered
was she then sold into a better family where the cherished weren’t always lost or gone missing.
The kettle whistles and a dog barks
and I climb from sleep, up in the yellow pink attic room where still my grand mother’s Victorian bureau holds court.
Not ready to descend the spiral stairs
follow sound into the baking morning. I turn over, bury my bird-nested hair, face wrinkling under the soft of white cotton.
From that garret room, narrow and short,
I often gazed out three stubby windows, longing to ride the old pickup truck nestled next door silent in the sagging barnyard.
I always wondered what they were doing
over there, when the whir of loud motors, the clanging metallic noises bled into me. And so, I painted the scene from my perch to discover, to render without muddiness the red truck, the blue sky, the grey house set back, hidden behind a wall of green. Even then, I recognized that we were stranger neighbors, mother and daughters: Hebrew queen Sarah; Mildred, the mild and the strong; impudent woman Jezebel; and Fedora, the diviner of fashionable hats.
April was the cruelest month:
It arrived with snow in its throat
still gregarious with winter’s boast
as if uncertain winds could whip us clean
in the delegations of rain
still wrecking havoc at back breaking speed.
Yellow is spurting through bare
ground freshly unfrozen from its iced nap.
Yet we perch the back fence
gazing out at the distant storms still rattling
waiting as warm sunsets toggle
with cool breezes brushing back a new spring.
May May blossom and flower
soon carrying hope in its hat turning a new corner releasing the cold of isolation, the massive disappointment that was cruel April.
There’s a smell of change
in the recent tidal waves that percolate all to salt nostrils with chalking wet. Yet, the world still sleeps head in hand
perched always on an elbow
or face down on a table. Snores are the only chatter, hearts pumping a slow pace Jitters gone quiet, morning blahs remain all day. As past and present drift my cracking lips refuse speech keep quiet in the din of day Light spells as evening sidles by my table, watches strangers talk in echoes no one hears.
Art, work, no change: Whimpers
of senses painted foggy line by line: I feel done until I consume the drip wait for the electric pot to boil with patience. Without coffee, even the injurious chatter in grunts and snores.
No matter how daunting
a task a mouse could eat an eggplant parsing it
into minute morsels
the way one could consume an unripe pear
tearing through the tough
tightness of weathered skin to sweat each
mouthful as rough as earth
chomping through its unwashed hardness
front teeth crunching
to release a slight swagger of sweet.
S slithers on my tongue like a snake
O encircles the air, your surprise C a crash of glass on pavement I remains all about me and not you A frames my teeth in lies and deceit L is the left you took out the back door
The hen sees the snake’s feet
and the snake sees the hen’s boobs.
A Thai idiom translated means this:
Two people know the secrets of the other, or is it quirks the snake and hen share?
We were first in love in Thailand
Jet lagged from the flight, we found no time for sleep after trudging temple to temple in Bangkok heat
All night beer drinking under clay
statues revealed its own symmetry: I redeemed the secrets of the snake. You relished in the quirks of the hen.
I feel nothing for you
for those left behind love riddles my chest I cannot breathe
Never knew someone
like you could make me wait locked in and gazing
in long lines
for staples for extra room to pass by what’s left on the street there is no love lost for you I cannot love
Still, you take
more than you give stealing
on call with little choice to muddle through doses of lack I pledge my heart to the essential workers with little
choice but to huddle
too close in the back sparing the driver from catching the bug
For those on the front
lines, my love grows forever grateful.
Far beyond the pound
of rain: floods are not expected even as wild whistles of wind breach this waiting shore.
Once, you knitted
me a safely net of stripes: a blue-gray scarf that binds me to your island.
A fine protection
yet down stream all is blocked I am stranded left alone straddling in high water.
This is what looms:
An insular tear of knots signaling the way out You looking lost wishing for home in the background.