Sunday, October 25, 2009

Birds Clearly Don't Understand Glass

we wouldn't admit it,
but in your pocket slept three
baby grackles and a large blacksnake

as you stood near the winter
swimming pool, like a little
mother, but with fur,

a lightweight skeleton,
hollow bones, the age-old bell
on the collar,

your large palms
spread with shelled peanuts,
sunflower seeds, red millet,
white millet

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My therapist tells me we have to work on "my problem
with biting."

1) I wish I could tell you the truth about this; my jaw
has been wired shut more than once.

My boyfriend is bruised and a little embarrassed.

My front tooth is loose and it hurts when I drink
my tea.

The sheets are in the dryer already. No one heard

I give them names. They recede in the light.
I wish I could say I went away, but I was there
the whole time.

I keep forgetting my body has weight.

2) When I was ten I sat on the bottom of my neighbor's
pool for hours, the pressure on my ears beating
like a huge slow wing. The light flickering
in the marred blue like a hand-held sky.

I kept super-gluing my fingers together, then sucking
them clean.

The neighbor boy had webbed feet -- his bike had a big cage
on the back.

We went through the woods on my big wheel.

I was never rescued. I forget what happens next.

Friday, October 09, 2009

White Shirts

While you sleep, I watch a movie. A man bangs his head against a shelf in a library. It's the magazine section: I can almost tell the year of the movie from the magazine titles. I love the image of white shirts hanging on a clothesline, as long as it's not in my backyard.
He picks scabs into the backs of his hands, and tapes old pictures of tigers all over his mirror. He ends up cutting off his fingernails.

When we lived together, I pretended I didn't like cats -- they seemed too sentimental for you, you who read Nietzsche long into the night. We slept on a futon you rolled up against the wall every morning. It was so hot in Portland, the futon stank no matter how many times you washed the sheets.

I used to worry about you burning; your medication made you so vulnerable to light. After the hospital, you moved stiffly, like a dried up robot. The cats didn't recognize you, hissed at you like you were the garbage man. And your tongue rolled out at odd intervals.

Later we decided to pick out a kitten together. You said it was too soon after our first cat died of cancer. I accused you of only caring about the sofa.

Thursday, October 01, 2009


The boy two doors
down likes to bite,
too, but his mother

makes him eat soap
after, and so through
the summer-propped

windows we hear their
struggles in the bathroom,
his shrieks as she grabs

his mouth, the slipping
as he knocks the bright
yellow lozenge from her

hand, and then sobs
for hours, a strangled
sound like a lawnmower

stuck on a plastic toy.
One day there's an ambulance
in their driveway, no one

will tell me why, and a week
later his sister breaks
my 101 Dalmatians record.

Then the whole family
disappears; I never even see
the moving trucks, but things
like that happened on our street.