I wish I hadn’t made fun of him that day at Union Station when he walked away from the tie rack with the same green and blue striped tie he had in his closet at home. Green and blue slanted stripes. “You have one” I laughed. He said maybe the stripes are wider on the other one. I proved I was right. They were identical. I proved it. “Why have two exactly alike?” Because I like that tie, he said. I always liked this tie. Then I recalled when I was 17 and his mother took the hat right off my head. She liked it. Actually my father did this when she said isn’t that adorable. He took it right off my head and handed it to her. I never found another. None of this is what I want to talk about. This second, I want to show you the way the sun lights up the tree, such a funny slice of light it couldn’t be made by design, the way it hits the angle of green. There will never be another moment like it.
I DON’T BELIEVE HE EVER LIVED
I see his red and white striped shirt hanging against all the others left untouched by his breath. I say Thank You to that shirt for all the poetry readings and places, and also to the Navy Dress White for Angel’s wedding, I say Thank you to each one, following them down the rack talking to a closet. Perhaps he wanted freedom from all these but I am still in the forest and wonder about the meals we’ve forgotten and the peaches once eaten—did they exist? That sounds like some do-good-seeking philosophy. No. It is the quick cold snow of truth, biting and cold, gone as snow.
She always wanted to make love to a clock so she’d know when to stop.
She always wanted to be standing in the limelight in a white satin dress,
no, make that a strapless dress. Now she was older and, no, make that
one with sleeves. She wanted to be a cat hiding in a tree to catch a bird.
(acknowledgment: Poets&Artists, 2012)
Big Mama Thornton
WHAT I WON