Friday, December 24, 2010

My Dead Labrador Retriever Visits in the Form of a Hostess

Then, around 8 that morning, I saw the big woman in our garden. She lay between the mounds of snow in a red cocktail dress, her shoulders exposed, the thin straps of her dress biting into her fat white shoulders. I couldn't see her face; she was lying with her back to the window, using her arm as a pillow. She wore scuffed, high-heeled silver sandals -- her legs crossed at the ankles. I stuck my forehead against the glass, hoping to see more. The glass was cold and comfortable against my skin, but after half an hour, my head started to ache. The ache had a beat, in/out. I breathed against the glass and drew an outline of the woman in the steam. I put on my slippers, and then my large, tan, puffy coat, still stained from last week's dog puke. The woman didn't move when I squatted and poked her with a hanger. I touched her shoulder and she felt hot, like frying pan hot. She sighed and rolled over, and said, without opening her eyes, "Nevermind. I was just trying to see if the door was really alarmed."

Thursday, December 23, 2010

New Paintings -- one an homage to Nara, obviously.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Reunion: 1977

In a line of folding chairs,
our backs to the soccer
field, our palms twitch and float

over the paper-plates
in our laps (egg salad, tuna
salad, potato salad) to keep

the black flies away.
They sting our necks, draw
thin scratches of red.

As the cousin next to me tries
to cram a whole hotdog
into his mouth, I watch Aunt

Wanda’s feet pacing the lawn
in front of us, how the flesh
of her ankle overlaps the tight

dark rim of her patent leather heels.
I worry about her fat little
toes. Aunt Wanda is telling us

God once wept tears of blood,

and that his blood is in our veins
now. Before I can stop myself,
I look at the underside of my wrist.

The vein there remains hidden, blank
as the first page of a book. I think
to myself, maybe.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Then I'm on my knees in the street of our
summer, my brother staring from his trike,

his lips a pinked oh, blood pooling
honey-like from my mouth, the fresh, car-

washed cars circling like frightened cats --
a scar forming in my throat that will never

heal. This is all your fault, I am trying to say.
The dalmatian reaches for me with a gull cry,

his leash staked to the dying spruce of our
yard. Our mother hums sadly, watching us

through the screen door. In the distance, I
hear someone mow a lawn: sputter, chug, stall.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

My intensely beautiful and brave friend, Cheryl Burke, has started treatment for cancer and manages to be funny about it: read her new blog.