City Girl – Poem

City Girl

Red wasps have taken over, swarming out
from nests tucked beneath the awnings
of the porch. He tells me not to worry,
that we can learn to coexist, that only fear
of each other brings us harm. Yesterday
I took the boat out, felt the current steal
strength from my hands, watched the yellow oar
sink into mud. Instead of rowing, I gave in
to the drift towards shore. Morning comes,
he takes his gun, heads out to conquer,
while I trace gravel roads past
the pasture fence, rough beams of wood
tied tight with twine and rusted nails. Every day
I climb this path of hills, as if rising
to some conclusion, some vital thing,
while his shots slam out like proclamations
against silence. This morning, a wasp flew out
from a corner of the kitchen, hovered over me
like doubt, like thoughts gone awry,
like some vital thing. I left my coffee,
half-sweetened, on the breakfast table as I ran.

Damage – Poem

Damage

One summer I walked with a limp
because I wanted to be a cripple,
wanted a flaw to mar the appearance
of perfection we created on vacation,
charging from diversion
to diversion. All I saw
were the backs of their heads,
my mother and her frosted hair,
my father’s white socks
and the tubby ass of my sister
in her terrycloth rainbow romper
always smelling of crotch and hairspray
when she tossed it off at night
into a corner of the Hotel 6
where the silence followed us to Florida
from our home, the home
we never left behind, the home
that trailed us through Adventure Island
and the Congo River Ride.
That was the summer I wished
for cancer, for a tumor that couldn’t be
removed, a mass so thick and palpable
the damage could not be denied, forcing
an amputation, its replacement so false
and hollow my faulty body would thunder
through botanical garden trails, and shatter
the leafy chatter of our family’s last resort.