Dolly's Pregnant # 1

I left the trailer and walked down the slope of the front yard into the tall grass beside the road. The back yard was scarred with the tracks of mini-bikes and the trail that our feet made out to Trixie's doghouse, but here near the ditch under the three trees that sheltered our front windows from the road, the grass was full and wet in the shade. I pointed my feet downhill, lay face first into the green sea and felt it come up over my ears. Everything outside of the greenness melted, a blade up each nostril, silent, I watched the ants and beetles come into view. Sometimes a walking stick inched by in the background, padding over the helicopter seeds from the maples overhead. I didn't think about teachers or any of the boys I was interested in at school out here. I thought about how this ground would feel with moccasins on my feet, what it would be like to ride a pony that wasn't tethered to a metal merry-go-round and seemed sleepy.
I took my nose out of the grass and shifted onto my cheek. Rose was coming down the road on her bike, slinging gravel from under her back wheel. I could almost see the freckles in a constellation across the top of her nose, but mostly she looked like she was riding through a forest made of blades of grass. Her back tire jumped whenever she hit a big stone. It was like watching a movie except that I could feel the sun poke through when the wind moved the leaves of the trees. Patches, like a pile of coins spilled on a table passed over the blonde hair on my arms; I felt my breasts fill the furrows in the ground. An ant took a short cut across my middle finger.
When my eyes moved back to the road from my hand, Rose had disappeared into the jungle. She might be holding still behind one single blade of green so I moved my head a half an inch downhill. Nothing. I hadn't heard the bike pass behind me, and I was sure that I would have, being so close to the road. By pressing my chest into the grass I raised my head a little above the earth. I saw one cock-eyed handlebar and a spinning wheel in the middle of the road. I came to her knees and saw Rose to the side of her bike, one foot threaded through the spokes of the back wheel. She was sitting on the gravel looking at her scraped shin, sucking in mouthfuls of air and gritting her teeth. Any second now, Rose would be able to start crying out loud.
"What'd ya do, ya dummy?" I imagined her mopping great swathes of sympathy out of Mother on the phone tonight. And Mrs. Neehan too. Out would come the peroxide, the methiolate and bandaids, and somehow I was sure that both of them would ask me why I hadn't been watching Rose more closely.
I stood up and swooped down through the shallow ditch and then up onto the brown of Macintosh Road. Rose had her face to the sky by the time I reached her, still gulping, tears pouring into the collar of her shirt.
"It's not that bad, you just scraped your knee, see? Most of it's just dirt."
"S'not!" She had forgotten to really bawl because she was offended.
"Is too, you're not even gonna have a scar I bet. Shut up."
I was trying to untangle her shoe from the wheel, but the laces of her sneaker had wound around the spokes.
Because of the wind, I felt the truck through the ground before I heard it. I snapped my head to the side and saw a tan GMC, not his, not Frank's, spraying dust to both sides behind it and heading straight for us in the middle of the road. From where I was crouching, it looked very big and it didn't look like it was going to slow down......

More moody post adolescent poetry (just what the world needs)....

Christmas 1975

the Saddle
my father bought me
was in the box

unopened untouched and expected.
early christmas morning
it rained.
the copper pony's neck and back
were a straight line
above the level of the fence.
his eyes were closed.
I said:
I think it's a saddle.

So he gave it to my mother,
and she accepted
without flourish.
she does not have a horse.

this is what he's planned;
that I should want what is hers

while my mother
can finally touch
what she has never been able to name-

feel its skin
the cinch
and the weight.

Whole Foods

Today, as I was waiting for Dev to finish some shopping at our local Whole Foods (whole paycheck) natural organic health food emporium,
I was sitting in the car guiltily wolfing the last of my KFC crispy strips with honey bbq sauce, when I look through my windshield and see this woman
about 70ish.
She's pushing a shopping cart along the sidewalk that bisects the nice new clean store and my parking space, leaning heavily on the push rod. Her back is hunched permanent-like and she was wearing a pink sleeveless polyester blouse and red hair that I'm just gonna come right out and say wasn't natural, plus, hadn't been to the beauty parlor in the past week, if you know what I mean.
She had one bag in the cart, and it looked about half full. She was walking real slow, like you would walk if you were stumbling down the hospital corridor clinging to your saline hanger, and she was smoking a cigarette.
She was smoking about as slow as she was pushing her cart and flicking the ashes into the bag and I thought: Man, would I love a cigarette.

(no subject)


Nine rooms slide yellow nicotine smiles
from the second floor,
from the attic down.

The Buick is in the shed.
She lives on the wood her sons cut up
and leave.
The garden she puts up,
the rolls warmed over.
She has taught young girls to chew wheat into gum.
Something she had imagined waiting
jumped without warning
from the pantry shadows at lunchtime
and he was gone, except for

the glass that dropped on the coffee table.

In summer the cedar droppings spot the porch and
Her husband's acres weep like a lover out of reach.
No one beds the fields.


The sore on her foot is gangrenous
and she smiles because this is good.
She has told her children that she hates them
She will eat their tears
and click her fork against her plate.

Everything is as it should be,

When her hair reaches to all points in the universe
and electric.
The pink bullthistles of Arkansas, the oleander,
the poke weed the turnip greens
begin to hum.
This one is gone.

Wednesday (post 2)

She had come home in the middle of the afternoon from school and her stepfather was waiting for her in the kitchen with a Pabst in his hand. (Bubbles)
“Budweiser gives me a headache.”, he liked to say.
There were three glossy Playboys on the table. “Take a look at those and tell me what you think.” She put down her books next to a blonde woman bent over at the waist, smiling. She looked out the kitchen window. He crushed his can and set it on the counter, opened the fridge and took another. She watched for cars on the road and waited for the pop and scrape, the sound of the bubbles. She opened one of the other magazines in the middle to a brunette wearing a boa and sucking her index finger. She started flipping, not reading, glancing at girls by pools, girls bending over cars in mechanic’s overalls unzipped to the stomach, girls with their tongues at their lips, legs spread wider than she could imagine with their hands on their breasts. She thought that he probably didn’t notice that his work boots were leaving clods of dirt on the floor. His footsteps were closing in a tightening semicircle, as if a man working with a scythe were getting tired, and shortening his swings.
"What 'cha think about that, Chubs, huhn?"
He put his big hands on her breasts and squeezed them, moving them together and apart, cupping them, then sliding his fingers forward. He pinched her nipples and she saw his thumbs grow foggy out of the bottom of her eyes. Miss August spread herself wet on both pages; two humps of paper over her Mother’s tablecloth. Beige and white checks with a tiny flowered pitcher in the middle of every square.
“Zat feel good, huh? You gettin horny looking at those?”
He turned her around and stuck his big tongue down her throat. He must hardly ever swallow, she thought, because his mouth was always wet like he was saving little sips of beer and spit to throw into her mouth, to choke her.
Her lips were slack. She was waiting for him to be finished. He stuffed his hand between her legs and pushed so hard that she came up onto the toes of her new school sneakers. When they had gone into Flint at the end of summer to buy them at Penny’s her Mother had gotten this style against her own better judgement. Kelly said, “This is what everybody likes and I want them.” So her Mother had bought them but said, “I’ll get them if you take care of them. You’re not wearing them to do the chores.” Since she was beginning to realize that certain things were worth preserving, she always changed into her black riding boots before she went to the barn to shuck corn for the pigs.
“Listen Chubs, I’m just showing you what it’s like. That’s what Dads do. Families take care of each other and teach each other things.”
Most every time he did this, she drank Kool-Aid before her Mother came home from work, so that the smell of beer would be off her breath.

Wednesday (post 1)

After he left, she stood on the aluminum strip that divided the kitchen linoleum from the carpet of the living room and stared at one of the copper tacks that held it in place. She felt small and useless in the new white cotton socks that her Mother had bought for the new school year. She shuffled across the low gold knap, her feet picking up static, and stopped atop the small plastic mat of the front door. The water that rested in the ridges of the mat was drawn to the pristine fibers over her toes. She felt this, and slid one foot along the grooves, like a rootling.
She looked out of one of the little frosted glass plates of the front door and saw the woods near the house. The crowns of the swamp oaks split into fragments, two-dimensional snowy television images, shadowy and unreal. She stood still for twenty minutes, watching the trees sway in the wind, moving her thumb as if she were holding a flip book. After she had hypnotised herself in this way, she liked to throw open the door, feel the air rush in around the metal door, and see the trees as they really were.

First post not last

Swamp oaks
line the road at the base
of our driveway
the spaces between
thin branches peepholes
into the living room
But in spring they spread
shiny new skin
sticky green
over a burn

You use what you have
to hide behind
this tree
the barn
the rolls of piled red snow fence

I am quick because gravel is my watchdog

Light cars spin on it
trucks pop stones
from under their tires
I have memorized the sounds of transmissions
McGathy's Olds,
their haywagon,
the Cousins' pick-up

He comes slowly; he thinks quietly
only two stones fly
lazy and low

Out in the open
he speaks through the soles of his boots
he lies with his bow-legged talk

He opens the front door
as I open the back
In and Out

Under the fence and into the muddy woods
where the huge river birch is canting
almost to the ground
I lie along the fissured bark,
my hair in new elliptical leaves
and watch my pony wading,
black flies sucking at the sweat
behind his ears.