National Poetry Month’s 30/30

First day:

Angels never pray. They wait
with us when even hope,
red eyed and bobbing head,
loosens her grip beneath
the waves. The words
have roots, they know
and hold our place on every page
we’ve yet to bend.
In the shadows of the leaves
they wait for us
to sing.

Second day.

The Dog for a Walk

Descending the stairs
like a tennis ball
white and fluffy the little man
pulls you through the gate
where before you
the path is straight
and groomed – he takes you
the other way through
the thick and dewy grass
to bloom wet as newborns
on the river’s wooded trail

He knows this hour as well
as any commuter
the sun just now warm
enough and reaching
through the bower to pet his face igniting the umber
in the endless brown of his eyes
as keen as any wolf’s
now beacons of delight

There There There he pulls
How can you be a wastrel
of his time
how can you hesitate
when the deer now leave
their arbors
Here Here Here they blast
across the trail bursts of gold
rising and falling through
the green and holy pungent
The voles collecting treasures
the crows have news
of the moon

How can you wait


Third day:

From the Irish


The little girl’s Uncle Tommy
always good for a story
and fond of saying
that when he first arrived in St. Louis
he wasted no time
in hitting the bricks ~
That is to say,
he got out from the wagon
and fell on his face in the street ~
had actually been a brick layer
at 13, hired by the cousin
who paid for his passage;
though now Uncle Tommy
owned the tavern where everyone who was anyone in city hall went
to not be seen by anyone else, and
the little girl was a little afraid
of the guns she occasionally saw
under the jackets of the men
who worked for her uncle
whom he never spoke to in whole sentences and they always
eager to please him –
for this, she didn’t fear the men themselves and was proud
of how beloved was her uncle, who
began to explain to the little girl
and to her next older sister
while they waited there in his tavern for the storm to pass that no
God love ya no was not a tornado
for though he had seen
a mere handful in person
he had faced one down
and sure wasn’t he here to tell them?

The storm that day in the long ago had rolled in so quickly he hadn’t a moment to put down his tools and run for cover as he was laying bricks for a house on Blair Avenue.
As he stood in the street
the beast was before him and you wouldn’t forget ever in your lifetime such a howl and such a dark
that eats the world wouldn’t you
die maybe from the loss then and there of any hope of living?
It was the scream of a banshee
that ate other banshees and almost rattled his bones apart. And then didn’t the very bricks of the street pull up
in rows as the beast ate them the way he’d seen the little girl
eat corn on the cob?
The bricks swirled in the cyclone sparking as they collided
over and over and just as the evil dervish was about to pull him up
it tilted then rose and spun itself
into the greenblack and roiling of
its mother storm above, and just
as fast, in a heartbeat truly, the beast was gone as quickly as it had arrived and he was alive in the dirt street and was aware again of the pouring rain.
It was then that he saw what was left of the bricks was a twisting tower formed by the monster itself and yes one day soon he would take them
to see the unholy structure
ask their father, speaking of whom had arrived to fetch them as the rain diminished and he’d made
Emma Don’t Leave Me, their favorite.

It wouldn’t be until the little girl
was a woman, a mother even,
that she began to misbelieve Tommy’s stories, though he was long dead and passed retelling them. His brother, too, long gone ago shot
outside that very tavern.
It was then she believed the other
stories, those told by bitter strangers
like the tale of the woman dragged from the Mississippi her only crime
was to bear a son who said
the wrong things to the right people.


Fourth day:

From the Irish


The little girl’s grandmother
now wondered to herself
– this now was long before
the little girl was ever born
At this moment her grandmother
a beautiful young woman
with five wee daughters, one born
to be the little girl’s mother
and another so wee
she was still on the way –
if events left a place mark
like the scorching of walls in a fire
like an echo escaping its source
as if it were a caged bird
now free not knowing where to fly
is this what ghosts really were
a place’s memory when everyone gone so gone from there

She wondered this, her sky blue eyes
the color of the mirror’s sky
she brushed her auburn hair before the mirror that framed the window
behind her as the window framed
the street where she could see
her daughters playing, her own Da
shepherding them back from the road
with each errant ball
She dreamily smiled to her
brown eyed girl’s reflection
smiling back her twin
in every way but this, this daughter
the eyes of a fallow deer
who possessed her laughter
so knowing in its timbre
for such a tiny girl and now
far off beyond her family’s voices
and the neighbors, her barking dog
Barking Barking bells ringing
clanging louder and hooves now hooves pounding the bricks
the red ball sailing escaping like
a red bird escaping her father now grabbing and yelling
at the doe eyed girl grabbing the ball

Before she could turn
the vision caught her in the mirror
the scene behind her suddenly
like a play a story she already knew
the ending she couldn’t change
her voice escaped her without a sound She raised her hands
before her eyes she saw her eyes
and her daughter’s eyes and
it happened too soon
She delivered her last daughter
her father covered all the mirrors

Some ghosts haunt the blood
she answered the little girl
now her granddaughter now
it has already happened long ago
the little girl had wondered
at her aunt’s eyes one blue
as the sky yet the other brown.




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