of Family

184

Her 2nd birthday spent in Montauk

She is the ocean – smooth
as undertow (and faster).
The sand-yanked shore
and the moon’s bold center.
A bubble on a wave

image

The sound of you moving in the upstairs office

Oak groans against oak
The double reed of an oboe
Accented
By your heels da-dum-dumming
between shelves
You in the arm chair soaked
in leather and lyric
Raising lost volumes
through the downstairs rooms
Rhythms, the brilliance of your soles
tap-tap-a-tapping off my ears
the couch the baby’s hands
The strings scratch a melody
chut-ta-ta-chut-chut
as pen sets to paper
And oh, the bassoon!
A breath
rolled by the timpani
the shifting of your weight to feet
Finally, the refrain
The groaning oak, building
holds the crescendo down
the hall. I meet you.
Fermata.

image

Sunday morning

I fit into you like a canoe
in a cottonwood tree
Hull pressed to
trunk, supported
by the limb under my ribs
Two skins
camouflaged
so it seems almost reasonable
we should share the same space.

I don’t believe in heaven
but if I did
I would rather stay with you
here in our mismatched bed
the baby sleeping between.

image

5th Grade Algebra: a reunion of broken parts

Lay down your pencil. Come, play a puppet show with me.
Algebra can wait. Constants don’t grow; the equation reaches
the solution every time. But not you

And I can’t wait. I no longer know
which negatives solve positive. Your shoulders
square, a right angle with your hips. You’re teeming
with variables. Come, paint a picture with me.
A one-windowed house with a squirrel in its tree.

Come now, before this moment is swallowed by algebra.
Rest in my lap, let me curl my fingers in your hair.
Your chin grows narrow in the lamplight and I can’t
find the equivalent fraction.

022

Ideas

It was a long winter and now
the hydrangea won’t bloom.
The deer, half-starved,
ate the laurels to the ground.
Still, the geranium shakes
the dogwood so we think of things
to plant.

She tests her limits
tumbling through the marigolds.
Behind her the dogwoods turn
down their leaves. Next year,
the hydrangea will come
with pastries.

She will be there, too.
With dirt on her
fingers and scrapes
on her knees. She will press
geraniums to her nose
because they smell
like fireflies.

These ideas, they winter
laid out in rows
under the sun or waving
in clusters from a hillside.
Alongside the girl you kissed
first, the violin I never played.

Originally appeared in Flutter Poetry Journal, October 2014

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