I taught them…each…to nose wriggle
like a rabbit…to imagine a bee sitting
at their nose tip about to sting…perhaps
unless they quickly wiggled it away…and
that there are no guarantees in real life
that they would not be hurt…I told them
I taught them…each… to close observe
the curve of listeners’ lips for secret
disbelief…disdain…the doubting shown
when lips are closed and corners flicked
down even for an instant…I told them
and then I wrote gesnorenplartz upon a screen
and told them that it meant smashed peas
and then I watched…and so did they…each other
and then they mostly knowing smiled
and then we began our reading of his tragedy…
how…what happened when…Montague and Capulet
and Friar and Nurse and Escalus of Verona lied
oh, when they lied…to their young
Eat raw cookie dough for vanilla
butter salty sweet with a chip
of chocolate melting finish the way
I do…I know…I know the egg and
the salmonella…what the hell…
just do it.
My six-year self loved raw beef;
ate bright red hamburger with
my dad with lots of pepper salt
god…that was glorious…though
don’t relish it as much since he…
the missing is still fresh.
Mom and I lounged on a porch to
watch storms…great gashes of bright
lightning and chest thump thunder;
we’d ooh and aaw at strikes as if
they were fireworks.
And…oh they gave me freedom
to be dusty trail stream woodland
wilded fisher child talkative…curious
with gypsies gathering dandelions for
bitter tonic…in our pastureland with
me acres and acres away from home
me…their only child…my folks they
just did it.
I know…I know the dangers…and
they raised me their way…then;
damn-ed outcomes seem to hover
closer now for solo children…for
we’re used to expect danger…not
as much do risky…not to think weigh
teach caution balance breathe and
then just…let…them…do it.
Deep…deep beneath Dad’s land
and still cooling from beginnings,
tectonic plates expand…subduct…
slip slide with incremental tension,
slight tremors on a Richter scale…
yet not enough for red ants
in his woods beyond the barn
to swarm out from their mounds,
nor for his canary in the kitchen
to bash its feathered body
against the metal cage.
He knows those warnings
to move horses from the stable.
Lately, we’ve all noticed
he doesn’t pay much mind
to TV news and such…
only reads the local paper
and books from the living room…
like the Bible and Farmer’s Almanac
and plays here and there by Shakespeare.
He spends more time out on the porch,
and senses weather changes
even before the metal rooster
on the old barn arcs from east to west,
and notes balances tipping
like horizon sun flash…on the cusp
just before the set.
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