Hens and Chicks

In a small clay pot,
glimmer of leaf
light from my bed-
room window,
I twist-tie the mother
to a toothpick
guidepost, noticing
the daughter at her foot,
a miniature version
of her miniature self,
the succulent I almost
had not noticed hiding

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Pietà

I am lying, arms helpless at my side and sunk into the tiny gravity wells
Formed by ribs and hip bones, framed in this comfortable chair.
It’s only a nap, in a chair that is not my mother, its arms not my mother’s arms,
Yet I sense that I am upheld by love, and a poem runs through my sleepy thoughts.
I am aware of my hands cupped without care or purpose, at full useless repose,
And I think of marble, of a sculpted body eternally at rest, perhaps the Christ
Released from the agony of crucifixion, the artist carving his ahistorical palm
Wounds like lovers’ openings in a waiting corpse, tender lips traced through the Shadows of holy

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Mutated World Sequence

My husband watches Ozark on Netflix.
I walk away to my laptop, tell him,
I don’t like any of the characters
and I don’t like the plot.

He can see how that could be true,
but he watches anyway.
The show’s been nominated.

Conventional COVID-19 wisdom says
the smart thing to do is stay home and avoid people.

We wait for a cure as hours of scripted
dramas flicker before our eyes.

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At my parents’ house on the one-month anniversary of my sister’s death, which is also the three-year anniversary of September 11th

it snows. Too early for snow but seasons change.
On the warm ground snow falls all day,
fat white splashes not quite like ashes, but
with a purpose, a quiet, eerie mismatch of
What for, why, how can this be.
There’s a hum. I can’t hear right.
This silence is deafening.
I hate snow.

A chainsaw sits near the door of my childhood home.
The door’s knob wore down and fell off.
The door forgot its name, is listening for it in the wind.
A pair of rubber work boots stand nearby.
They rub together, rattled by a cold breeze, a
synthetic scratch, scratch, daring me to enter.

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First Memory

The picnic table. My sister’s
vaporous hair. Neighbors
in their unknown clothes.

I’m wild in blue shorts,
striped top. My mom’s
in my sister’s body.

The tenants of the lawn
rumble their tongues
like little engines and tickle

my untouched ankles.
I run the path of planets
around the wild grass

between the grass
between our houses. My
arms make airplanes.

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Patricide At the Dog Howl Cartoon

Father, my heart freezes
stiff as those chickens
when that slaughter truck overturned
in the blizzard of ‘78

and as I walked through the empty
snow world I kicked them,
feathers all over the road.

There is mother
in smoke and shame
hiding her face how the dead
know to do. Father,
her dark eyes hair skin all
a howl of rain.

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Tuna Meow Meow 10¢ Off

Tuna Meow Meow 10¢ Off Checkout behind befuddled womanwho places one can Turkey & Giblets Cat Foodon counter, watches the scan,selects a Price Chopper couponthumbing through a stack in her fist.Cashier shakes her head: “Coupon’s forthe small size, honey, you’ve got the large,”tosses the can in a reject bag white plasticwhile Ms. Befuddle lifts a […]

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Becoming Eve

Becoming Eve My mother wanted me baptized with the middle name of Eve. It was 1953. The priest would not hear of it. In a covert nod to Church authority, she settled on the diminutive of “Evelyn.” I can’t recall exactly when she shared this anecdote with me. I do know I was old enough […]

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Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers 1. on your right the dark thing father’s letter to a tramp college strippers’ dinner you’re not invited crackers from the machine get off stage people expect even from an amateur one good thing necklace from classmates a climber fifth avenue jab and punch rarely real corn-flaked motel dirt-blackened tub hard blinding a […]

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