Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Rewrite Mimosa


The mimosa bristled pink outside my bedroom window,
its leaves collapsed in the dark, closed like praying hands. 
Each summer night I fell asleep with the scent
of it, soft and powdery, clinging to my dreams. 

When I was rewriting my days in September
with sharpened number 2s still tagged
with cleanest pink erasers and it was nearly officially fall,
mornings broke wet and chilly,
heavy as a wool blanket left on the clothesline overnight.
By noon the heat would build, would stifle,
so mornings I shivered in shirt sleeves, waiting
beside the dewy green wisteria, past its purple prime.
Uncomfortable in my own new shoes,
still stiff and shiny, 
I tried to summon confidence
before the bus arrived. 

Sometimes I plucked a feathery mimosa flower and
tucked it behind my ear on the way to the stop.
I imagined myself pretty and exotic, brave for being different,
like a Haight-Ashbury hippy in my red-neck town.
Overhead a single mockingbird
layered one song over another.  Romantic that I was,
I began my listening believing
it sang because its little bird heart overflowed
Although I knew it was only borrowing from its nature.
The first notes seemed plaintive for the lost night and dreams;
liquid, fluid, much like  my mother gently moving me
into the day and off to junior high.

As the bus topped the hill, 
that unctuous bird seemed sharp and shrill,
still carrying on, nagging like a conscience. 
Impostor and thief of songs!  I left the flower on the lawn,
too soon convinced we were both liars.

Beyond the Waste Land

Should April be the cruelest month,
then August will do us in, all
the sparks flying from sun off water-
igniting the tinder of past loves and losses.
Bright lit corners along the curbs,
deprived of dark mystery and lovers, 
beneath the trees shake every last leaf
of memory down upon us, blown along-
the whisper scraping of what once was
and what is,
mumbles of the summer wind,
foretelling  the winter and
of what might have been.   
We curl up, dying daily
beneath that scorching summer grin, infatuated
with the hopeful light and cloudless days
only to find fitful rest
between the roots remembering
the once green  life above us.  Gone
the hyacinth and lilac, gone even now the lillies,
sere.   You are the last vestige of your own desire.


Confederate flag
fading from red to pink with
dimming stars and bars

claim this kindom of
old trucks in parts and rusting
frames of cadillacs

mobile home aging
white to gray, dented siding,
beer cans, home sweet home

to some kind of pride
I do not understand, as
pit bulls stand on guard.



When finally you think you could smile
again, you realize your teeth are broken
and you hide behind your own fist.
Not what you expected
except in that dream state
where you saw your teeth
rolling across the floor, spilling
like pearls before
you could close your lips.
Now you tell yourself
the sure secret of starting over—
You are not the same.  

For a dead cicada

For a dead cicada

A wall of sound
cicadas thrum in the tree
in the heat of a crescendo,
like mystics conjuring
tropical fevers or verdant lust.
One lies near the roots
fallen silent and still,
wings like unstained Tiffany glass,
big as your thumb  
crisp as pork rinds
hollowed out by ants
six legs bent as if 
they did not make it through
one last evening  prayer.



Dragonfly wings spread
Pairs of oblong kites
Crackled cellophane panels
Church panes without stains
Fragile fractured flight of prayer
Busy glint of silver
Overhead stitching 
Sky to air and day to night and
God to uncomplicated souls.