someone’s great-grandmother

so I, gleaming in wedding blue,

say, “you look beautiful today!”

to lace on sky-cloth, hair like clouds

behind round-rimmed glass, her cerulean eyes glitter with tears

and she tells me that it can’t be true

her sister was always prettier, even when they were kids

so she just accepted it and kept living

 translucent skin quivering around cracked lipstick

and now she (thinks)knows she can’t be beautiful because she is 92 years old.

she loves my voice and hair, though. Heavens yes.

Advertisements

art teacher

I want to scrape together your shatters and remould them,

working my fingers through your cracks, the places

love has been torn away from, your insecurities

burned away in the kiln of my hands. (fire of angels, fill me)

I will use my nails to scratch off the gluey false security,

let it wash away in the water, leaving paint.

You are beautiful, creative, and capable

let me help you see that.

eye contact

sudden, unconventional family waiting for the bus

dripping rain on our luggages, 1am Chicago time. The pilot Matt (or was it Mack?)

says this is the first time he’s seen O’Hare like this. The woman in the red jacket agrees

and hugs her purse close. When the Country Inn shuttle pulls up, we rush

squeezing into seats, holding each other’s luggage and making room for standing.

Matt is the last one on. We bounce down the highway laughing, making jokes about

spring break and beer runs. “I need a drink!” people keep yelling as we pass

shady convenience stores. LIQUOR. BEER. CIGARETTES.

For these twenty minutes, we become best friends. I say something

and everyone laughs. The guy next to me makes a comeback. (Do they know

this is my only dream?) We pull up to the hotel’s automatic doors.

The round Texan man with a barbecue drawl lets me out first.

walk down longwoods lane

the air here is heavy, dense with scent

branches sway gently, the emerald grass is silently lush

the back of my skirt flutters against my heels as I step

just the same as fifteen years ago, I am entranced

by fountains and flowers, the Chimes Tower and Eye of Water.

I, the fairy unicorn princess, traipse bare-footed

by gurgling stream, the rush-rush-still waterfall.

If my baby self saw this Me,

they would find it majestic. Even beautiful?

When is the light show? I must remember

what Grandma’s smile looked like

coterie

(The Mindy Project says

that psycho people can make friends. That I

can make friends that stick. I will run up stairs

to find them. Gamble for it. Dance in the dark.)

The girl who did my nails had bright blonde bangs

and we talked about “down the shore”. Maybe

I am actually from somewhere. Maybe I have a tribe.

My Delaware valley accent is back. Outside smells

like the Easter baskets Nana Wagar gave us that one year.

I’m under the gun again, but with so much home stored up here

I can get back on that motorcycle and cruise over these buttery roads.

Someday he will sing “Sha-la-la-la-in love with a Jersey girl!” and I

will be that girl. We will stack rocks at the Cape May sunset.

The band will play again. I will get splinters on the boardwalk,

hell, maybe even a spray tan. No one would judge me for it.

My wanderlust has been beaten, frozen out of my heart.

I just want to sleep till noon and wake up somewhere

safe. I want to give my kids

this sandy soil, as it pours through my manicured fingernails

and (no one called me “weird”.) they will pluck tulips

and yell,”tractor!” The old folks church will smile

and take them out to breakfast. (as they loved me.)

packed/storage: south jersey

tight chest & gleamy eyes

gaping out the window at some memories

which flow over the wide grasses

the flickering trees that flash by

as sunlight dapples, shades, twists

a hint of nostalgia, the recall

of something good. Spring has sprung

what can I fear? this is real, I think

or at least I was

loved here once

seven hours

back home, this would be an adventure

I would know what to do

something great would happen

and we would eat chapati on the side of the road.

Would. But we are here,

I am windswept, arms folded, staring into a stream off the shoulder

of 215.7 southbound at 7:00pm (it’s getting dark, we have 4 hours to go)

and the engine is spluttering. Maybe it will explode.

Every pothole will be a curse, every damn trucker

will be stress.

Will.

gator ride through the orchard (easter)

the tractor growled, and we flew down the hill,

twisting, turning through the trees

steering handle spinning as we snuck past the fence

“This is illegal, by the way”

the grandkids are screaming, half fear, half delight

that grandpa would do something so reckless.

mentally, I am careening back across that Arcade highway

the snowplow shatters us again! I snap back to reality

jolting, the grass is high and the road is rubble

the steep hill we are climbing, fast

like the road to Kidepo, soaring over the stony hills

swerving, sliding around in the loose shale

even the dirt matches, it is orange dust

and I am 12 years old again, home and free

after burning season, the grass comes back this green

and the ash leaves charcoal traces all over your white skin.

it was meant as a joke

racism begins with ignorance, so

why is it an accepted excuse?

“I didn’t mean it/I didn’t know”
do NOT

remove the hurt, heal the wounds, hold the hearts

with a thoughtless joke old heartaches are broken

in haste, we waste

time could have said “this is a bad idea”, but no one asked

the point is, an issue is raised

and this is our chance to fight for the right side

get up, stand up already against

land of the free, free to be

(a little bit) racist?