Hour 12: It’s Perspective

These origami cranes crafted from
underwear catalogues (which slipped,
quick nipples, into my mail)
are an improvement on
paper promises
of bliss that a
purple bra

Hour 10: A Need For Seasons

Now, at this long end of June,
Unplug those showy winter lights.
Leave them to crumble.
And year after yawning year,
More slowly than
Your own beauty grows
Then goes away,
Begin to comprehend
The solemn logic of
Candles in December.

Hour 9: Siren

After a long pause
Nose downward,
Watching waves polish
Her feet, lick at her ankles
Repeatedly, a clock’s tongue,
The background hum of sea
Echoing some famous adagio,
And my round reddening belly,
Patient as one of those
Smirking stone buddhas,
Yet desperate for her answer,
She at last mumbled,
“Maybe once in a blue moon.”

Looking back,
I don’t think she knew
The weight of that phrase,
Massive as the gravity
That yanks salty tides,
Into which she lurched,
Bobbing up a second later
Beckoning me in.

Hour 7: Horror Story

Normal is a cobweb
A zombie a tomb
Normal sedates people
Who without knowing it
Rot in concrete cells of normal

Run from normal
Fear that unsettling illusion
That barren tree in darkness growing no fruit
That madman murdering your children

Oh, the only cure
For a world yearning
For normal
Is your hoarse throat
Croaking croaking croaking
At the window

Hour 6: Lost

So, two hikers, lost
In Lost Creek,

Asked to follow me
To our cars.

There’s no disgrace
In getting lost;

Rather the opposite.
You wouldn’t know

Any ancient Greeks
By name had they turned

Promptly home and calmly
Docked by lunch.

Yet, every step we took,
Those Minnesotans and me,

I wondered who
Was robbing whom:

They me, of my Golden Fleece,
My solitude;

Or me them, of their
Triumphant return,

Their Penelopes, hungry
After all these years,

Aroused by every half healed scar,
Every punishing bruise of the gods.

Anyway, we arrived at the parking lot
And I took their picture

Before driving myself
Home over Kenosha pass,

Safe and alone in my car
Listening to Bach

Without much to note
Except a mosquito bite or two.

Hour 5: Time Capsule

Lascaux’s lost cows tick
Backward across time-baked walls,

As I stand
Awed beside my ancestors’

A spear into my fist.

Hour 4: The Tattoo Artist

“The white of the paper
Will be incorporated…
For the green and yellow patterns.”

Says Jane Strother
In her book about
Drawing with colored pencils

Making me wonder
Which parts of my
Ever evolving flesh

Will be incorporated
In the patterns
About to be etched

Onto my forearm
By this talented person

Who only just now met me
And is doing this job
For money

Hour 3: Seven Pictures

Seven pictures hang
On my grandmother’s bedroom walls:

1 My Grandfather, whom I did not know
2 The gaudy guardian angel hovering behind kids crossing that bridge
3 Me
4 Teddy Roosevelt, no one seems to know why

These on the west wall above her hope chest.

Seven pictures hang
On my grandmother’s bedroom walls:

The east wall displays

5 A framed newspaper article, now brown and undoubtedly fragile, Charles Lindbergh landing in Paris
6 Her high school diploma

And above her bed

7 A dreamy oil painting;

of a Polynesian beach,
a place she’d longed to visit,
but, what with working for pennies
and raising my father alone,
fretting and wrestling his demons,
alternately offering Dad
tough love and soft,
he largely accepting
responsibility for her reddened eyes,
cobweb thin hair, leathery outlook,
time ran short
for making it to Maui.

One picture does not hang
In my grandmother’s bedroom:

o Regret

I hand each of these to Dad
One at a time.
He stacks them
In a box
Destined for
His attic.
In a few years I’ll
Have to unpack them again
And wonder what Teddy Roosevelt
Is doing there.

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