Saturday, April 5, 2008

Three poems


my mother used to spread her hands, just so,

and frown at me. and back then, i didn't know

that love is knit from doubt, but tangible as cloth,

but cloth so thin you could feel a collarbone through it

taking the shape of the girl beneath it

and the girl beneath it taking the texture of love.

but i didn't know

frowned down on under draping doubt

that it was why i wasn't cold.

i know it now that i'm without.


it's only nights like this, i think

when my head pounds and your head stares

back at me from the bathroom sink--

it's not like me to even care.

i threw up all the whiskey sours.

i never liked those girly drinks.

it's not like me to long for our

long long-lost longshot dreams of girls

in butterfly gowns at baby showers--

oh, mama, here we are again.

i still don't know when this part ends.


i saw you smiling at your mirror

months after you'd left for good.

that radiance you'd always had

not lost, not even slightly dimmed.

i saw you turn and see me there;

you were so real i think i shook.

you didn't have to say a word.

you smiled, i gaped. you always were

so much more poised than i could be.

i was a teenaged tangled thing

i dreamed i'd steal your diamond ring

to make you cry.

i only think i might know why.

i faked my way through rooms while you

would light them from the doorway;

i learned by watching you for clues.

i tried to do things your way.

you broke my heart a thousand times.

i bet i broke yours more.

i wrote long, vapid, pithy rhymes

and tacked them to your door.

and--i didn't see you off quite right,

as though these were not wrongs enough.

but as i looked to you that night

you smiled at me with so much love.

you smiled with only joy and love.

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