Hello Daughter

elephant.jpg
Maybe it was over lunch
and sweet potato fries
when our elephants left us
this new-fashioned easiness–
though I suspected something
unraveled when you traded
your zip-up hoodie for a
cardigan in eighth grade.

We can hug without a pinch.

When did our elephants leave?

Corpus Christi

SAMSUNG
Ankle
eddies dance
on her ten-year-
old toes
for the first time
while wooing waves
draw her out
waist-high.
She romps
with mouth
wide open
and questions
the salt
on her tongue.
Daddy,
what does it
taste like to you?

Johnny Cash

images

Once
in a while
in the trouble
between asleep
and awake
and twice this week
she ransacked
the radio for
Johnny’s voice
digging for
her roots stashed
in Kansas City
in San Antone
and Abilene
halfway between
heaven and hell
where both of their
low-toned truths
walk the line.

On Day Six

On day six
I lay myself down
In light cotton comfort
My gray t-shirt
Tethers me
To this body
To this rub
Of ribs against rug
A wriggle on the floor
Once and once more
As if dog or a cat
And I hear myself
Tell myself
Oh, never-
Mind that

prompted by Creative Bloomings

Homecoming

last friday night
i had a homecoming
of sorts if that’s what
you want to call it
flying north-northwest
i was grounded in a
parking lot puddle and
the janitor waved me in–
insisted on warming my feet
while i wrung out my wings
then i remembered
that dreams have their themes
so the rest is what i know–

i am here. at the first
united methodist church and
stairwells have their spirals
choir bells wear their smiles
heads are bowed, and eyes are closed
but something says lift your lid
and the ladies on the phones are there
and the books on the shelves are there
and the balcony seats are way up there
and grandma’s corpse is still down there
under one high wattage stained glass eye
and wouldn’t you know–
she winks!

and all that is within the north
the south, the east and west
is fulfilled
and my mom and the babies are there
and my best friend and her groom are there
and the stable for mary, joseph, and baby jesus
is there too

and i forget my wings
and push wide the gate on the elevator
and skip out the front double doors
the janitor holds open, for me,
for me to hop on my banana seat bike
and pedal my way home like i do
coming from jennifer’s house

dove-header

How to Care for an Ebola Patient

Throughout the hospital
There are questions

How do you clean an elevator
Of one Thomas Eric Duncan

One of 3,338 removed from Liberia
Guinea,  Nigeria, and Sierra Leone

Janitors want to know
Triage wants to know

Ex-ray techs and stretcher
Transporters are asking

What about eye protection
A blue hazmat suit

What’s the protocol?
What do we do?

After Stein’s Picasso

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Gertrude Stein by Pablo Picasso 1905-06

she is away .
away she is .
she is a way .
a way i am .
a way there is .
there is a way .
a way she has .
she has a way .
a wish away .
i wish away .
she is away .

[my much shorter wordplay than
Gertrude Stein's "If I Told Him"]