The Christmases That Were Forever

my own advice: treat every gift
like you’re nine in ninety-seven.
rip the heart out of your parents’
wrapping jobs. don’t notice
the hanging phone calls,
the coils of collection,
the foggy snarls at the door,
the stay-in-bed allure radiating
from big, red boxes hidden
behind the couch for after
we opened all the other presents,
for after we grew up,
after we got jobs.

 

(originally published in The Drunken Llama, Fall 2017)

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29th & Vermont

bone-worn dog & hung head asked high kids holding lemons,
tangy hair in the air, zest & bitter tantalus–

went to dumpster-cat (blackberry feet)
sick of white gloves, guttural mews.

coarse throat, bumpy pink tongue trickled yesterday’s juices,
held the water, blue sky whirring, whirring– engines / exhaust!

icecream trucks! brahms overture, mary had a little lamb
escaped from jail with vanilla dripping down her hands–

pigeon following, little pecks, boots collected
sidewalk grime and ran, ran, ran!

ask the man skin dandruff collecting flies–
there’s no more room in this bone-white van

still raise you head high, tide bring ‘em to shore
hang you head on my leg say the moon help me beg!

 

(originally published in Eunoia Review, February 2016)