5.04 / April 2010

Grandmother Advises the Dodo

listen to this poem

Next time you fall off a cliff

wind the gramophone.
Light a cigarette
and recite “The Harp-Weaver.”

Drink coffee black as night
on the settling davenport.
Brace yourself for better bones.

Grandmother Invites Me In

listen to this poem

You hungry? I’ll fix you
an egg. Two
or three. Come
into the kitchen. Sit
in a chair. Ellen said
the chairs would sell. But
you need to sit. I kept them.
You know your niece Anne
is having some troubles.
A hard life with
only her daddy to care. Her heart,
you’ve probably heard
isn’t working right. Now
we’re trying to get her
to a specialist across state. Melissa
said maybe she could drive her. You
remember Anne’s daddy
has no insurance. I
could have sold these chairs.
The leg on this one
is all messed up. See
what it does when I kick it? Watch
and I’ll do it again.

Grandmother Teaches a Class

listen to this poem

She’s had students before–
though this lot looks younger
almost babies really
their mouths half open
waiting for food.
What they need is a good blanket
and a nap. These students
aren’t ready for her lesson plans.
They cannot know this world
in this way.

It is not disdain that draws her back. It is
love. Don’t they come from her?
From this, the first day,
don’t they live in the bubble
of her own making? She feels
each response–
each kick, each pull, each turning.

This life of theirs
grows inside her.
This shield she wields
blocks the blinding sun.

I Am Let Go (he explained)

listen to this poem

The new system is not aquariums
with tadpoles
of technology.

The new system is not the future
of frogs
with technology.

The new system is not the change
from life to life

from technology.

The new system with the old yellow bus
that wheels me back to Grandmother’s.