In the wake of serpentine limos,
saccharine cards, carnation fields
arranged just so, the water
in Simon’s pond went black.
Our house grew laughless, tombstone cold —
spiders ran their gamuts of lace.
It was 1959 — computers hadn’t been born,
so Daddy deleted our stringless harps
with gin or a beer, something with ice
and a fragrance that stung.
I sensed it was our medicine.
I thought I should learn to pour.

Sunday was our lazy hour —
a game of camping under sheets.
The mattress seemed a vacant lot
some CAT had cleared by accident.
Lip of the cotton always infused
with the liquid of eyes.
Exhausted from spearing
unspearable moods like silver trout.
He sent me out to hunt a bear.
My tiny hands came back
with one of your socks still smelling
of leather in shoes that were gone.

I boxed your pillow with a fist
until the feathers left in air
like blackbirds struck by B-B guns.
Father’s bed, a wasteland now
where bridges of touch
seemed useless iron.
With rivers dry, no wonder
the lake of our chatter was low.
At barely four, I ran my digits
over the lumps of crumbling coal.
Found rattling gourds of his arms
reaching for flesh in a grave.

*First Published in Rustlings of the Wind

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