96

How do you tell
A dead woman
Her daughter is dead?

Buried in Binghamton, West Virginia and Pennsylvania
It’s Monday again, and her daughter is dead,
We eat rice cakes in the kitchen,
I’ll be your daughter.

Walter’s dead, Walter is dead,
To the noose!
Don’t you wish you were dead,
Baby? You don’t get to pick your mama
Or your daddy, and I cry to think about it.

You don’t even know me, baby. Nobody knows you
And you can’t know me either, her fish mouth,
Red lips kissing orange juice, just like the carton
I remember mom poured on dad’s head in ’96.

Even if Walter is dead, the daughter is dead,
I could still be your daughter, I don’t want
To live in Arizona, I smell apple cinnamon
Rice cakes in her kitchen, her teeth rifle
The cakes, loud as sirens in Arizona in ’96 when
Dad took me there and ate up at least three thousand
Of someone else’s money.

You can’t replace Walter or my daughter,
Baby, I wish you’d stop bothering me.
Her eyes are glossed over like a cheap marble
All fucked up, in hell, do they only let you eat
Rice?

They don’t let the bad poets in hell,
God likes the sonnets, dull sublunary lover’s love,
A spot for seuss, the rhyming sounds
Like an angel singing,
Maybe, she’s crying
In my kitchen, knowing her daughter is dead, knowing
She’s dead, too, a noose around her neck, no, it’s a big one,
Just too old to keep it going for me,
Her eyes as bright as her box dye hair, the joking voice,
a gesture I love steamrolled me, her skin waxed out, only her
Mouth left, last words? She says
Winter will keep her warm
in hell.

THE SKY DID FALL

Was it always bluebirds?
Upside down, a paradise
left golden hot red?

Could it be the fur
on the belly of a rabbit?
The deep glow of an iris
tie died blue green together.

Creek of the grasshopper
outside the blue window,
clementine sun-sky
sometime early morning,
humming iridescent opal
hanging on its side, the deep
blue dark night time, the leonids did call
for you, the beesĀ asleep in their cribs, the buzzing,
it’s you, deep dark voice like night time,
paradise golden, the big boom of the sky falling
for november, just like Lincoln saw too, baby moon
the sun burns hot red, your feet
burned, bluebirds singing,
tied together, the sky does not shatter,
the big bloom of the circle sky opals,
the leonids did call on you, me, tied together.