Wednesday, November 25, 2009

In the Back Yard, Surrounded by her Laundry

the denim shirt hangs to her knees,

she belts it or wears it open over
a pink dress, the hem scalloped,

the ric-rac abundant and torn --
he stood too close, always, sucking

the oxygen away from her face

it's too early yet for gloves
her woman's hands in water,

sometimes she's washing
something, sometimes
she's washing something off

abandoned pit bulls clamber
into the back yard, surrounded
by her laundry

Wear your coat
(Please don't forget your coat)

she sets the cups on top
of each other, the rims still wet,
her hands cold as earth

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Large Stable of Horses

I can't stop writing without my arm on fire
and then milk. I must be a reincarnation of St. Sophia,
or was that blood and milk.

Her teeth sharp, black, each morning she hands me
my peppermint latte at Dunkin Donuts. In another life,
she was Kali and I, the daughter she killed for singing or weeping.

You send me a postcard of Paris, although you've never
been there and you live in New Jersey. You are probably
a series of polka dots, or that advertisement about condoms in Spanish.

She thinks we are friends on Facebook, but I don't
remember borrowing her pink shoes. She must
be a reincarnated mouse, or some kind of grey machinery.

They whine that the day is too long and the sunset
too orange and short. They are buried Maine Coon cats,
resurrected for my New Year's party or the day after.

We never go in that room any more. We are fleas
without wings, or the lock frightens us -- size
of a baby's head, horrible key-hole and frown.


The Upstairs Neighbor

On a good day, your sweater reeks
of poppies, tree roots and sunburn.

You promise to send me a postcard
from Paris in the springtime, although

you're too old to fly to France and you
live in a four-story walk-up in Jersey City.

In the morning, your teeth sharp and black,
you hand me my peppermint latte from Dunkin

Donuts. In another life, you were Kali
and I, the daughter you smashed for singing

or weeping. I can't stop writing on my arm
about fire and milk. I dream I'm the reincarnation

of St. Sophia while you pretend to run a cosmetics
business from your cellar, and bury the bodies after

hours in the park. We can never go into the room
where we first met. We are tiny, tiny fleas

without wings, and the lock frightens us -- size
of a baby's head, frown and horrible key-hole.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

But I am Working on my Recovery

you tell me you're raising your fee
you tell me to stop glaring
at the other patients in your waiting room
you tell me you're just concerned
about everyone's emotional safety

you tell me this is good for me
as you leave bruises along my jaw,
your grip just a little too tight

you tell me I must separate from my mother
you tell me none of those memories are real
you tell me you won't renew my prescription for xanax

Everyone gets off just a little
on being abused,
you tell me
as you push down on the top
of my head, something I'm getting used to

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Unborn

Tentative, mucky,
very wet, very red,
their fingers

grab our dangling
earrings in our
dreams of drowning.

like distant wars,
like distant animal

ambulances, they paw
through our sock drawers,
our stacks of photographs.

Sticky, miniature-thumbed,
reeking of rose talc
and rancid butter,

they stain our bed posts,
our sheets, our rearview
mirrors. They murmur,

murmur in the corner,
mouthing button bits,
vanishing in vacuum

hoses, in the light
of bright lamps; we shove
them under flower

pots, under swing sets,
under stacks of news-
papers three-months old,

but they return
to breathe their sharp,
unripe breaths,

clutch their half-made
fists, inside our
closing throats.