Tagged: the Family

Flat Earth

I remember in church
a woman was having trouble
praying to God

sexually abused
by her father and now her husband
she couldn’t take another man

Make God a woman, the pastor
told her. Granted, this
was a Methodist church

Mom liked it for the choir
Dad always felt
he could ignore what he didn’t like

the matter of interpretation
heavy. some things did happen. we
did slay our memories

we did find a dead spot
in the woods
i knew of it

in the way one knows our planet
through pictures
through the elements of trust

wind, fire, through blood
like a meteor disintegrated
how can I ever

get far enough away
to see
what is really the world

to see it touched
by the hands
we are told mean time

and know the forest
for the stars
how on Earth

will I recognize
my mother, her face
like there had been people

After Climbing a Tree

half of you begins alone
cast in doubt among rocks
by chance fossilized
inexplicably timed

asked to trust the atmosphere
to observe your body’s
race into alignment
without really participating

the mind wields
a sword-stick
of soul

time will enclose
the others, their colorful
straws poked through
puddles of air

you learn man
from dangerous man
the mountain range
at which love
becomes too much

you know things like
righty, tighty
lefty, loosey
bleed the faucets
for a freeze

father will always
come get me, even
if I’m not myself

night brings the sun
in, out of the rain
father’s armpits
smell of brown fruit

you know things like
if I got up here
then I can get down

Coleoptera

      Entomologists estimate there are nearly
1.5 million different types of beetles
if you double the weight of all beetles
the world would cave in on itself
I love this nature fact – partly because
it sounds so made up, and partly
because I believe it must be true

      Cleopatra wore lipstick made
of crushed ants and beetles
David crushed Goliath with a stone
Since then, the weight of humans
has doubled many times over
we are gathered around a large hole
each awaiting our turn to see

      My parents have just called a meeting
to say just cremate me, no need for all
the fuss, unless it feels important to you
that you have a place to visit
Do we get a hole to see down? 
a box in vain denying the earth
thousands of beetles crowded around
the stags, the rhinocerii, the oxen
Now that would be interesting! No
mom says, and please,
just pour us out anywhere

Senility Lane

the blanket says I brought it on myself
but doesn’t remember why
she might’ve meant how much I’ve grown
or the tree I told her has fallen in the yard
I hope she doesn’t think a tree
has fallen on me in the yard
or that I might have already called her
she might have already told me
the things I’m supposed to know
like how to get out from under a tree
how to clean a fish over the phone
my parents could’ve looked it up themselves
or probably done it for me
but they made me call my grandmother
who walked me through a process
I’d have to call her again to do
that little perch, its bones
like splinters in its own flesh
newspaper torn, black blood and
sunlight shifting in the winded
tree, garage glinting
it had the look of still writhing
or still writing, which is
the back and forth of fear for me:
a dead thing still moving
an alive thing that doesn’t

Insomnia

the eldest pursues an ice cream truck
on his bicycle. he goes much farther
than he is supposed to. when he gets
back he has to funnel the ice cream
into cups. they drink it like water. the
eldest drinks real water, such is the length
of the neighborhood, the surrounding town
at night the eldest is last to sleep. there
is something about being the last awake that
appeals to him, like being alive is a trick
that’s easier to do when people aren’t looking
look at the surrounding town, the approximate
length of the known world. a dog barks
through it. it responds to its own sound. the
eldest dreams of being understood, or swiftly
diagnosed, but there’s no one awake who
can do that now. there’s no point worrying
it’s like that everywhere he could go

A Self-Preservation Technique

He lays out the socks
so that one cannot be seen
behind the other

His father, who will be
taking the socks
is watching sports
He does not yell at his children

like he does the coaches
sometimes the players. He’ll say
it’s like we don’t even know
who we are anymore!

This is the boy’s first lesson
about leaving something behind
before he is left

One Christmas, Sick Dog

leafless, stick trees
ornamented by squirrels
skinny squirrels chewing
on their thumbs

& families eating breakfast
in the lobbies of vet clinics
on Christmas, all of them
present

but the mother who toils at home
with the bleaching. the garage pallet
the chew toys

the thinking of things once had
in a mouth. one of them starts to cry
they all cry

there are children and dogs
in the clinic crying. this is the sound
I’ll be. a sound that sounds like
distance dropped of snow