“rewrite of someone else’s persona poem”
Rain soaked through your broken-brimmed
hat at the bus stop, as I changed gears
and clicked the wheel of my iPod around again.
I coasted through green, looking up to study
the waves of skin and rainwater cresting
to hair-thin carved lines around your slate-colored eyes.
“rewrite of someone else’s poem to a mother”
You drive fifty miles to
curl your long blonde hair, tie the pearls at your throat,
keep the house clean, and two Christmas trees up
after Thanksgiving. Eliza nearly choked
trying to eat the noxious poison
of your blessed cold cream, scented like roses.
and Daddy’s never here to see your dress.
The cowering husk you’ve become frightens him,
though he had two fists in creating it, himself.
You came home to me kneeling
where the wall broke onto the floor
and the cat mewing, circling,
green stuck to the pads of his paws.
“red light, downtown”
I thought the girl in the milkweed-yellow
tunic was you, at first—
cowl neck and loose trousers,
tugging at the front door of
She (you) found it locked, and walked
on down Princess Anne. Eyes
like the blue-grey smoke curling
through her hands, she half-smiled.
I don’t know you. But, I thought
you were there in the loose brown
gathering of her hair.
I remember the smell of lemons
being combed through my wet hair
and you in the foggy bathroom,
sending me out to swing in the sun.
my hair will never be so light
as yours, though blonde crept
through it then, along the winged strands
curled up with sweat around my face.
It’s darker, now that I am grown.
But people know I am yours
when we go downtown together—
eyes the color of jade
in the shadow, and limes
wreathed in flames, in the sun.
Laced wings and frail grey blot,
swirling in amber. Thursday night.
A man walks by as I release you
to the pavement, between thumb and forefinger.
“The Corner of
He says they are purple martins
dipping in and out of gourds
on the lawn edge, where we
found a rat snake at the cellar-mouth,
rotting pecans in greenest grass,
the wind chimes, and two
strawberry shortcake tricycles in the shed.
There is the flat-topped tin
carport, the out-of-place gym bar,
the out-of-use clothesline,
the well-kept hedge backing up
to a grass alley, two dirt
tracks beaten in by years
of yellow cars.
There are my grandmother’s pickling
jars, and the bird bath near the gourds,
and the foam always at the edge,
and the sweet gum balls
we pretended were spiny cherries
or small planets, suspended
around the stump that is always home plate.
There are the blue glass bottles
aligned at the kitchen window,
and the woman who adopted this house
and all of us, stands elbow-deep
in soap and water, by the thin-crusted
pie on the cooling rack.