Originally published in The Ohio Poetry Review.
Day & Night
Each day the ducks come on clumsy
Feet, bowed legs. Nearly
Crippled on land, dirty, a red swatch
Of mottled skin above their bills,
They’re not the kind people
Toss crumbs to. Yet they still manage
To pull themselves up
The embankment from the canal,
Across the hot pavement to
The stiff crab grass.
At the sliding door they squat, peer in,
Queer black eyes—strange
Exhibition—the dog yapping, scratching
The screen, my mother, wrapped,
Sleeping in her blankets
All day. A glass of ice and pain
Pills beside her bed. Each night
She drags her feet, two burning slabs,
Back and forth, bedroom to bathroom,
Bathroom to bedroom. Worried,
The dog drags her bones
From one place to another.
Originally published in the Suisun Valley Review.
Beside a small window of light,
my father is weaving twine,
making a basket. This, and lithium, is
his treatment, a distraction from sadness,
until he realizes what’s been
forgotten and suddenly wants back
to his room. But the nurse won’t let him.
She knows the earth after all
won’t fall off its axis
and shatter. So the glasses,
folded on the nightstand,
like a complacent set of hands,