Saturday, July 30, 2016

birdsong breakfast

breakfast: black coffee
perched on the front door steps
in birdcrammed morning

its brash black smell steams into air
thick with sound,
curling around the stars and loops
spirals and whistles, pip! pip!s
spurts and whirrrs--

the sun smudge smiling blearily
into birdchat like seed full berry jam
thick heaped on toast

while muted insect trills and hums
pack thick the background
music crushed and sugar-sweet
buzz and rattle

Hear! Hear! Here! rawthroated cock
bragging and chortling
glad to be crowing up
the sun. The sun up, glowing
like warmed butter drips
and melts in every cranny
of (now)

Thursday, July 21, 2016


I will fill up the cupboards with coffeecups
and wineglasses
with mismatched plates

i will fill up the days
with sisters. Their children
will fill up the rooms with scattered toys,

and i will not count the days since i vacuumed
or apologise for the spiders spinning in the corners

i will go out for chairs, or linens, and come back with more books
i will dress myself and your children in secondhand clothes that almost fit
until i am grown up enough to do differently

i will cook beans and cornbread
and buy sixdollar wine
and cry because i wrote poems
instead of cleaning the bathrooms
i will save ten dollars from the grocery budget
and send my brother twenty

we will invite families anyway
to eat stories from yardsale plates
with dented flatware,
good stories

Oh, our backyard weeds will rejoice
and i will go on hoping
mopping sometimes, sometimes moping

it is a nice home you have provided
with its doorposts
its doorposts
and doorposts
and doorposts
It will hold a lot of truth
it has room for hope


My husband says, "I have provided a nice house for my family"
which is true.
I hear gratitude in his voice, and well-earned pride
He has worked hard for this.

Thanks? i return

prickling inadequacies and resentment
bunched and crumpled into a three year old's bouquet
(don't give me nice things)

Three bedrooms. A kitchen--a large kitchen. A dining room. A living room. A den. Two full bathrooms. A laundry room. One hallway. Seven closets.
Wide rooms, long rooms
yawning and looming
We have spread out our odds and ends into the gape:
a chair here, the Wal-Mart futon, your particleboard computer desk.
We have, at least, plenty of bookshelves, plenty of books,
too much plenty of what i call my junk
(mostly craft supplies i will never use
and things we might need someday, in ten years)
when i am being polite

A room for each child: daughter, son
i have folded and stacked their clothes in little plastic baskets
4 for a dollar at Goodwill

Oh, it is a delicious extravagance
to wear these many rooms, these empty rooms
The weight of them draped
(undraped) around my neck
in their long spaces.
(and worst) un-corner-dusted
 Cinderella draping herself in stepsister necklaces
preening and mocking
They are heavy,
they sparkle,
look at all that zircon!
--her fists tight around the locket
her mother's locket
which is brass--

Really, you see
(don't sneeze) i am afraid.
How can i inhabit these wide rooms, these many rooms?
As greasy smoke--
i will dissipate
Fade into their grinning spaces
into mere traces of grime i was
Too poor white trash to clean weekly