In Posse Review ~ June 2010
“Living the Word Stroke”
Healing Muse features on their web site.
“Things My Daughter Lost in Surgery”
Once Again – Nominated for a Pushcart Prize
He hadn’t heard that shot at all,
the one that took down the mare.
He’d moved beyond that strange scene.
Moved once. Then once again.
Why hadn’t he heard it? Hadn’t it meant
everything? Or had it meant nothing?
His father’d called the ailing mare over,
cut her mane, spread her ears wide
with his palms, rubbed her snout
on on his face. Touched both flanks–
the inventory the living take
of the soon-to-die. He leaned
with his arms around her neck–
two lovers against a gray sky.
He hadn’t heard that shot until college,
a late moon rising, a bottle slammed
through his dorm window,
then his mind flamed back to
the sloping meadow, his father, the mare.
published POEM, May 2009
They took his sister away at dawn,
her face the pearl-gray of shadowed water.
He clung to the safety of his threshold
wanting them to come for him.
But they never did.
He was left to finger the walls
of untended rooms, hide his face
in lace curtains, watch
the crumbling garden gate.
By mid-day, canopies of clouds
blew steadily past. Smells of moist earth
drifted through the house, smells
of his father, his dirt packed palms.
His mother’s sunburnt knuckles,
fingernails ground thin and ragged
minding their orchards—apple and pear.
At nightfall, his parents returned.
Puffs of sultry air tumbled across
the sleeping trees. His mother’s careful
frown, his father’s whistling carelessness
came down on him as
winter comes down a mountain.
published Folio, Spring 2009
Laundresses Hanging out the Wash
after the painting by Berthe Morisot
The stories the laundresses relay
over the line—the line the upstairs
maid whispers by the hamper, retold
in the yard to the laundress—
the laundress who stirs the lye
and whitens the stain—the stain
of guilt in knowing the line will never
continue beyond the master and his wife—
the wife who scrubs the bloodied linen
in the wash basin that hides her barrenness—
the Baron who comes to call and stays to soil
the sheets of parlor maids. Not all the dirt
is in the hamper, not all the laundry hung out
to dry where peach-shirted and blue-skirted
women rough their fingers in roiling water,
drape towels and linen, on the line, in the wind—
the wind that releases the tale—
published Roanoke Review, Spring 2009
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