I see her look at you:
she tilts her head ever so cutely
and laughs so brightly.
I close the slats
against that look
and yours, those half opened eyes taking in all
that light from her white teeth.
I close it shut, then open,
she’s gone and you walk up the steps,
You were once told,
“No matter what happens
you can always
I’ll be waiting.
So will the fields,
the tree by your window,
of match-box cars on the sill.
Your room is as you left it.
Clothes that smell of you
remain in the closet.
I haven’t had the heart to . . . .
Should you walk up the hill,
I will see
from my kitchen window,
the flurry of the roadside grass
in the rising dust.
I will drop the potato I’m peeling,
and my hands will fly to my mouth.
I will run out to greet you.
Embrace as you breeze by.
Voices from book pages
let me forget the daily noise
so I embrace words
as the pages exhale.
Time does not matter
when I relate
to aches and delights.
one page at a time.
Pressed between Webster's gotten and grand,
mama keeps your letter, one page
to remind me when I'm at a loss for words.
Those words always the same;
I'm sorry mama, I understand now, soon real soon
but your release got pushed back twice since
then, already seven years ago.
Your dashed out script, the curves
of d's and b's never touching the base; detached-
a subconscious slip, my missed warning sign like
the forged checks, threats to mama at her work,
or finding Jesus four more times before
the cops finally took you away.
It was hard on her the first few years,
hard being patted down for visits, smiling
while ignoring each new tat, but it was who I had
to settle with the bank, play deaf to whispering neighbors
at the Safeway, at the Chevron, at the …
Who goin' hire him when he get out?
I cup her weathered hands in mine, wounded birds trembling
God goin' take care, God goin' take care
Finding the right words I need
I move you in between irresponsible
and irretrievable. Close this book
faithless, without memory