|Nebraska Center for Writers|
Miniature pinwheels of lavender,|
bunches I gathered under Grandma’s clothesline
then tied with a hair ribbon
that had been my mother’s as a girl.
I blew in and out of Grandma’s fresh laundry,
making up stories
I told to myself and her dog Pup.
Gypsies, Grandma called the tiny flowers,
left to run rampant
through our yard and garden.
Rolling down a lush grass hill,
I’d grab up as many
as my child’s hand could hold
on the way to the bottom.
Three paternal great uncles|
reared on fire and brimstone
couldn’t escape the tilt from the elbow to the lips.
I think they all died with a telephone to their ear.
My father hid Cutty Sark bottles in the toilet tank,
wore sunglasses at eight p.m. and
disrupted my slumber parties
with his slurred jokes and stumbled gait.
Eventually, shrunken and shaking,
found his way down a grim path to the twelve steps.
You’d think I’d have known better.
But I have knotted the piercing thirst on my tongue,
seared it with a burning cross,
valiantly attempted to blot up the hunger with
counseling, acupuncture and salve.
When I saw the fangs of the wild dog
rise up before me,
I oiled my body with cloves and lavender,
shook out the ghosts,
and opened my throat to the scream that never comes.
The parched field of seed corn remains, |
ditch lined by goldenrod and thistle.
Dirt faintly edges the road
where a driveway once led
to a paint bare clapboard farmhouse,
woven with morning glories and grape vines.
Barn, corncrib, chicken coop, outhouse.
Howling wind , now a mourner
Only the Zacheus tree abides,
LEGACY OF IMAGES
veined stone blue,
a single strand of weathered gold
adorns the third finger,
cradle this slate spongeware bowl.
What matter of porridge,
Potions whipped from the dusky iron kettle
Robust, eager children, stomachs growling,
A hush, then folded tiny hands,