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This morning he knows it is coming to an end,
this life of his hanging by a frayed thread.
He is closer to it each time
as he glides into his narrow slit, meekly
like the weary-kneed cattle plodding
into their stall at the end of day.

It’s everybody’s story,
the way his kind can go on for years
without a yearning, biding their time
in a dim closet, sleeping
among the printed lilacs on an old blouse
like the one he rests on right now,
waiting for what he already knows –
that one blissful morning, the hand
would come down, brush along
his still perfectly round edge
for a contemplative second,
and yank him free.

 

Originally published on July 21st, 2016 on my old blog. 

Many Years Later

Many years later, she saw him standing
in the cereal aisle of AJ’s Fine Foods.
He was reading the nutrition label
on a box of frosted flakes, still wearing
his mucky white converse with no shoestrings.

It was nearing seven. The blue between
two clouds grew paler but never vanished.
A bulb of white light quivered, and kept on
quivering still on the blank store ceiling.
Without a sound she turned away to see

if she has found everything she wanted.
Somewhere over the baking supplies aisle,
two shopping carts bumped into each other,
two strangers, mumbling soft apologies,
carefully went on their separate ways.

 

Originally published on January 9th, 2016 on my old blog.

Sister Moon

Mother, mother,
what have you done with my sister,
the other burnt charcoal white moon
from the same pear-shaped room
where I flew out like a bald bird
singing O love love be all mine.

Her life would have been mine;
her first cry would have woken the mother
in an iceberg, let alone you; her songbird
twittering of notes calling me sister sister
would have echoed through my bedroom;
if only the night queen loved her baby moon.

But mother, your night never needed a moon.
It was lit up by bottles and cries that weren’t mine.
I went into the wood, into the witch’s hutch-room
of black air, blacker than all of your hair, mother!
There I lay awake holding the soft form of a sister
who had gone to sleep like a sweet milk bird

nested inside all this love, my tiny bluebird
of a sister, my otherwise happiness, a full moon
melting into sixteen candles, pink-rose face of my sister
blooming into yours, and I denied everything to be mine –
all your trembling bells and stubborn curls, dear mother.
You laughed and said I was the blueprint of the room

where you’d lie down to die someday, a coffin room
from which you couldn’t escape. A caged bird
forever singing blues and lullabies, O mother,
you were the canoe that sunk under a waxing moon.
But the crescent of your face fell into place with mine;
your freckles tacked to my nose like love, like my sister

never leaving the nook in your shoulder. My ghost of a sister,
a longing with elbows and knees, tiptoed from my room
to yours every starless night. This game of mine
couldn’t save me from sadness, just like a bird
couldn’t take off from your canoe under the moon
without wings; without the bells of a mother.

My happiness, your absence, my sad white paper bird
gone into a world stained by the light of an eclipsed moon.
We’ve both been so alone in our blue rooms, haven’t we, mother?

 

Originally published on December 28th, 2015 on my old blog. 

The Centerpiece

They have come to watch me unfold,
sweaty dinner guests with gold lorgnettes.
I, a tigress imprisoned by a glass cage,
devour their lambs and spit red poetry.

Over the soup course they eye me closely in smokes,
horny widowers with stubby little cigarettes,
I, a dahlia rising out of the giant vase,
pluck their hairs and assemble sad history.

After wine they gossip through my earlobes,
bored mothers with their stuffed marionettes.
I, a blue moon squatting in a loveless cave,
kill the bats and begin a new story.

 

Originally published on December 21st, 2015 on my old blog. 

Mary Jane

Mary Jane is the girl
who perches her five-year-old chin
on the windowsill
like a small bird in the sycamore tree.
She doesn’t speak
nor would she run across the street.
But she could blow a bubblegum bubble
as round as a dream and as loud as herself.

At tea parties where the floral girls
sit and giggle knee to knee
Mary Jane pours air into cups of brown leaves,
and when everybody goes to sleep
she draws portraits under her swan sheets
one of Lily who is pretty;
one of Anna who tells secrets;
one of Bernice who is as alone as herself.

Mary Jane is the girl
who puts her favorite bow on the bald moon
and lets a lost ladybug hide in her sleeves.
She doesn’t cry
nor would she go to the ball without her red shoes.
And she dances behind the summer reeds
until her sundress spreads out like wings,
and she believes the butterfly in the pond to be herself.

When the floral girls put on aprons
and shop for meat sauces instead of ribbons,
they wonder what has become of Mary Jane,
that small milk feather of a girl
who hopscotches barefoot on the lawn after the rain;
who never finds another bird in the sycamore tree;
who could blow a bubblegum bubble
as round as a dream and as loud as herself.

 

Originally published on December 16th, 2015 on my old blog. 

A Thousand Nightfalls

The the first ray of darkness cuts a nightly swath
through our metropolis, the sun bleeding its warmth.
What have we done to deserve such wrath.
A pale star scurries across the purple twilight.
A single mother rushes home through traffic to her wailing child.

What have we done to these saddened spots
here and there underneath the graffiti walls,
which upon inspection turns out to be
misplaced youths and mushrooms that grow
quietly under the bone-white moonlight. What have we done

to the man sitting alone in the bar, disappearing
bit by bit, untouched gin, loneliest thing. He lives
quietly without attachments, like a blown dandelion seed,
listening each night to the drips of espresso, pretending
it’s rain, it’s rain in the green terrain! What have we done

to these driftwoods floating into our harbor – candlesticks
for our glittering candelabrum. There are no elms or songbirds,
only jagged steel pegs and a postal code. Stars plummet
to our bedsteads like death. What have we done
to deserve these bursts of bright lights

falling like blessings, falling
like a thousand radiantly gilded mornings.