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.

Baggage – Poem

Baggage

I have written a thousand poems
to the emptinesses I’ve left

behind, simple as sockrolls
tucked in haversack flap pockets, compact

as a roll of quarters tumbling
in an unfilled suitcase. I would no more

read them to you than I would answer
the ads on back pages of

the foreign city hotel foyer newspapers I read
alone in pallid, impersonal rooms.