It is true. I hated my father’s
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reptilian toenails, thick,
ridged, battered, as if remnants
Of an armor plating that had failed
To protect him from the world,
And below that barreled belly,
those thin measled shins,
Spotted with their mysterious
Purple bruises, and his deep snoring
As annoying as the buzzing of a large fly
trapped in a tight room
That was my childhood
Recurring nightmare. I still remember
The day I looked down at him
Seeing for the first time
A small man.
on the pinnacles
they take flight from high perches
and catch currents
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scanning for carrion
You never know people
till they die
you gingerly page
through their privacy
Those fresh, fateful photos:
mothers in mauve miniskirts,
fathers frying hash browns, wearing floppy hats
After there is nothing at stake,
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you find out all that you could have given
and the casket cream white,
done off-white with pink
roses, and her face
in the casket
with pink lips.
one of those griefs
where the people are quiet,
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except for her sister,
once, sobbed like a saw
through the service,
pulling lumber to pieces,
sending birds out of trees,
knocking down toilet seats
in all nearby houses.
soon after we parted
but then against the General’s command
we drove the boy out beyond the salt flats
to the northern edge of the mountains
where he said for a thousand years
no one would wake him
you spoke you remembered
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how he could not grow a mustache
not like the revolutionaries and caudillos
he could not clear his lungs
in the desert air
we stoned him for taunting the Chihuahua
stolen from Arango himself
but he loved his family name and honor
more than all men
Mother died. Father fled. Chaos ensued
as though I were swarmed by hornets
unloosed from a nest hidden high above.
His second marriage magnified the buzz
and stings, my hands tied behind my back.
After seventy years, there’s still a gallery full
of fierce memories. The debris of the natural
disaster that divided self-before from self-after.
I fold and refold the blanket of experience,
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unable to make the whole lie flat again.
The stubby screws
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in the cerebellum
poke out, exposed
to the cold
air. I have to leave
these parts to nestle
in the temporal
It’s the best I can do
which means I can’t
put the brain
back on its base
Babies, ice cream cones, umbrellas, cell phones, walking sticks,
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Groceries, the newspaper, a fresh pizza, flowers for the one you love,
Car keys, a purse, pen and paper, a snack, reading glasses,
A book, two books, a Bible, a pair of gloves, lip balm, a lipstick,
Bicycle helmet, a hairbrush, gum and breath mints, a hand mirror,
Earbuds and a pocket watch, a penknife, nail clippers,
Camera, screwdriver, hammer and pliers, a wrench,
Flip-flops and a towel, a folding chair, a handkerchief,
Which is a very strange word when you look at it,
A Leatherman, another strange word, but we got used to it
Children are building cities
in the sand
All of them have rivers
They pull buckets of water from this lake
that is secretly a river, make rivulets
that satisfy their god complexes
I don’t like you! yells a girl
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at a boy who has interfered
with her creation
The dad plants a garden
in tiny yard in front
of six family
digs up dead rose and forsythia.
In school the kid
gets a box of seeds
to sell for PTA.
The kid don’t know anyone with land
for growing all stuck in apartments.
The dad buys four packs,
Read more "Garden"
The dad finds old bricks
makes a ring in center of garden
to fill with flowers
and all along front border,
tomatoes, cukes, peppers
all fit into little yard.