Our summer carpet

clover

It was the dads
who wanted to be rid of the dandelions
we sat for hours tying them stem to stem
into necklaces
worthy of Cleopatra
bracelets we imagined bangled
as we held hands and danced
and then she would spin
a whirling dervish in a pink headband
the clovers hiding their four-leafed numbers
for then, we were not intended to succeed
too quickly
the grass rich, and the weeds plentiful
but they looked like blooms
from Nebuchadnezzar’s hanging gardens
to us

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Am I mean? Or merely lost
what do you see when you look into my eyes
does my hair snap at you
when you brush past

(and you take me as I am)

I was never a white wine spritzer
kind of girl–you knew that
my outline was drawn
in pencil on newsprint
smudged and smeared

(you never know what you’re gonna get)
(I am sorry)

Does my voice cause a strain
and my eyes flash lighning bolts–
do my shoes clop like horses’ hooves
shall I come in again–as if
we never said hello a thousand times?

(I tug at you like weights)

That dark baggage came with me
through six states
heavier than a five piece set
of Samsonite
(Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania
New Jersey, New York, Wisconsin)
collecting souvenirs like burs

(and you take me as I am)

My own security team on the ready
when terror strikes–
those days when 1971
is thrown into my face
and gentleness is just a fairy tale

(and you take me as I am)

Intruder

your-room

I stomp through your rooms
I scream my childhood until it echoes
I take off my shoes and lie on the floor
feet on the wall while I read

We live here in shifts
you with reality, I with my fairies
wandering in and out with one of them
on my shoulder. Scampering

when you come home you kick off shoes
you turn on music and from a shadow
we watch you dance away your day
before we find another place
to lie through the night

Sometimes I feel like an orphan

now that Mama has left and Daddy
don’t love me no more
sometimes I feel like an orphan
in the middle of a raging storm

now that I play at grown-up
playing house as if I know what to do
since Daddy stopped loving me at four
since I draw fear from the belt and the door

sometimes I feel like I am orphaned
when he is there and she is no more
but I know you watch me–and I know you care
and when you listen-I am an orphan
(no more)

I am (from)

Someone said, “Don’t obsess about the past.”

I said, ‘I’ll give you that, if you promise to look at it honestly sometimes’.

It holds the keys to the future.

 

I am from peanut butter on bread with sugar
and spaghetti, faithfully, every week
I am from peach pies and pot roasts
With potatoes, carrots and gravy and leeks

I am from long days and hard nights
Alone too much and confused about why I am here
I am from disappointed promises
Cruelty where I saw comfort in the masses

I am from heated back seat kisses
Hot summer nights with mysterious men
Hastily made oaths that vanished quickly
Birthdays that passed over like eidolon

I am from babies’ giggles and late night stories
Dreams of success and inventories
Blue skies and flat lands that stretched for days
Winter ices and eternal summers’ haze

I am from apple pie with ice cream
Bruised arms and scarred legs
Long nights we learned about falling in love
Long days we dreamed of them coming again

I am from people that worship our God
Some in a loving way, some rough shod
I am from somewhere it is good to be from
I long for new horizons that I can call ‘home’.

(2015, prompted by George Ella Lyon)

ravenous

I am an orphan now
and I’m no psychologist
but I know
when I speak
I’m a nor’easter
breezing through
ripping shit up

We are orphans now
and when we try to step lightly
it’s like Godzilla come ’round
Godzilla come ’round
to see what we can demolish
stomping
about the place

I am an orphan now
mouth like a gaping maw
a baby bird
with incessant chirping
never full
all that I can devour
give me more baby

The weaver speaks with his hands

This idyllic day should conjure up words like
daydream, breeze, lovely, carefree, ripe, and luxurious
but I move through my day with some agitation. I do
as I always do, my responsibilities, with pauses
for reverie. But my moments of thought are honeycomb’d

with words like careful, caution, reticence, and thief
and others such as grief, broken, torn and flambéed;
our days so carefree in the forest
as we reach the perimeter – bathed in sunlight-
each fault shown up, each danger splashed with crimson.

Hands that create and form and weave delicate strands
could be trusted, might be counted on
to put together a story that I could live with
my fancies coming to life with holidays and ruffled dresses-
childhood realities I knew existed – but not for me.

Weave me a tale of red leaves and sunshine
and an autumn day, most fair, but I know
it is April, not October. The monsters pounding
on the bolted doors, the bear paws clawing
at the eaves – they will find a way in-

sworn to silence

mom said be quiet
some say
I never spoke
back then

pigtails
dresses
don’t tell
months that felt like years
took years
to get over months

is it unbearable
to not be cherished
then try to join the world
tentative
aloof, and
scared of shadows

staying mean
to keep the walls standing
in the middle
of the crowd
I screamed
my anguish

one on one
I was sworn to silence

silence (kills)

pigtails
dresses
sworn to silence
months that felt like years
years to get over months

is it unbearable
to not be cherished
then try to join the world
tentative
aloof
scared of shadows

staying mean
to keep the walls standing
middle of the crowd I screamed
my anguish

one on one
I was sworn to silence