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waitingFear creeps up on me, an animal
with soft footsteps, skittering in the dark.
I take a Valium, another, the numbness settles
over me like a sheet. If I take another it will
be a blanket, but still, I lie underneath. Still.
The oil on the road in front of my house sounds like rain.
I wonder if I will forget the sound of rain,
the white, white clouds rushing over a high blue sky,
blinding, the sweet breeze against my cheek.
I know what I am losing, what I've already lost.
Why should hours, days, the long stretch of night matter?
It hurts the way you love me, like I hurt you, accidentally
and somehow worse.
And the question no one asks,
how will we ever survive?
gypsyThere is a line of light connecting you to me. There are lines
of light criss-crossing the world. But you,
There are colours in you I don't have words for. We mix the paints
on the table until everything is brown, laugh, dig for more paint.
You steal my goat-hair paintbrush, the brush I saved for weeks to buy,
dip it into your fingerpaint, laugh.
We make up names for colours, we make up names for each other,
you wake me up to tell me you're a big girl now and I swing you into the air
and you kiss my nose.
When the house is dark again I cry, curled like a shrimp in my huge bed,
alone. But you are singing to the dog, your new favourite song, Life is a Highway,
you make me rewind your favourite movie and sing carefully along with me as
I fumble half the words.
You climb into the driver seat of my car, place your tiny hands on the steering wheel,
one hand drops to the stick shift, your head tilts thoughtfully
and you smile.
I dreamed of a door...I wore the thread that slipped from my daughter's baby blanket around my wrist,
white against tan, bumpy yarn, it's been four years
since my mother patiently crocheted the stitches together
while my daughter rolled in my belly,
impatient. I dream and there are doors under my fingers and
I am alone.
I go down to watch the water rippling slowly past, carrying barges
for hundreds of years, my shoulders tan darker, I am absorbing the sun,
eating strawberries, writing a will. I wonder what will become of you.
I pray to old Native American gods, they do not see the world in black and white.
I investigate the trickster gods, in my dream a coyote trots across a field of waving grain.
Why does anyone go home? There are places that we live, places that we've been,
places that have never been exactly what we are looking for.
Skipping rocks out across the water,
poem.she is married to a monster,
cleaves unto him in the dark.
does she regret her choice, creep
away in the night to sit alone by the windows,
watch the stars. does she know or even
care what those hands, heart, body has
done before she knew
him, there as the sky lightens toward grey
she lashes out at the world, carefully,
precisely, knows everyone's secrets
but her own.
without wordsone eight year old girl holds
another eight year old girl's hand
in the dark grass of a summer's night,
says, sometimes my brother hurts me,
sixteen and unfathomably tall, he becomes
the boogeyman, underneath the words she
wants to say, danger, beware, but they are eight
and curl into the grass without words.
and the other girl is still eight and coming into winter
sleds freely with her own brother and when
she is alone at the top of the long hill the boogeyman
comes for her, pushing her down under the trees,
fumbling at her hand-me-down snowpants and her
nine year old brother comes with a tree branch and
a dark knowledge in his eyes and the girl laughs,
exhilarated, and for a moment the year gapes wide
between them before he smiles, heroic,
and takes her hand
the years stretch long, she is sixteen, she is blooming
wildly, another boy fumbles at her pants, won't take
no for an answer and the dark knowledge is in her eyes,
the past and the futureSomeone gives me a book on Columbine, someone
makes a documentary about September 11 and
I think about how my daughter will learn about
the World Trade Center in history class,
will come home to write a paper about it and
I will think about sitting at the kitchen counter,
watching people fling themselves out windows
rather than burn.
I will give her poetry
and tell her it's not history, it's a broken heart.
And if I go to prison I will give my loyal wolf to my brother
because we visited and he woke at dawn, carefully, each morning
and my dog leapt lightly from my bed to stalk though the fog
at his side, how
I can do anything, I know, whatever
it takes, I can prowl the house
in the dark, listening for your
sleeping breaths. I can wait to
conquer myself, ribs and heart, dreams and fears,
my trembling fingers, my longing for a ship
and a new world.
Stuck The car sputtered and shook as it came to an almost silent stop. The engine had gone silent as the horn beeped loudly through the dark night. The orange gas light blinked mockingly at the woman behind the wheel. It was making fun of her; she knew it was making fun of her. Grabbing the black cellular phone on the passenger seat, she looked at it with full intention of calling somebody to come help her.
“Oh, what the hell?!”
The “no service” sign was mocking her at the same exact time. The horn beeped loudly as she slammed her head against it once again. The day was out to get her in general. She had arrived at all her classes late, and her son was sick with the flu. The babysitter was able to watch him as she went to her late night classes. Giving a heavy sigh, she lifted her head off the wheel to look out the window. Drops of water pooled on the windshield as rain started to fall in a pitter-patter pattern. She didn’t quite understand the message th
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