Child Beauty Pageant Ghazal
The woman in front of me at the post office says
she's mailing out her granddaughter’s hair.
For pageants, she explains to us all.
She wins wherever she goes with that hair!
My grandmother always sent me beanie babies—
what is it like, instead, to get hair?
The only wigs I wore were for Halloween. My mother
did my make-up for studio photos, my hair:
one year, ... Read More
Crèche Scene with My Son
No one would want that clinic on their lawn,
delivery room aglow in fluorescent light
where, since it belonged to a university,
each specialist had students who observed
the half-successful epidural drip.
The monitors that checked his vital signs
alarmed the nurses, who believed he might
be starved for air. They started agitating
to prep his mother for a Caesarian,
but no, the wires had ... Read More
SAINT ANNE AND THE SOMETIMES MAYBE MIRACULOUS CONCEPTIONS
On July 26, St. Anne’s feast day, for as long as I can remember—though when I was younger, I did find it a bit tedious because I preferred to be out roller-skating early in the morning—Mother and I would go to Mass at St. Michael’s, our parish church in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Definitely wrong side of the tracks. My Wellesley ... Read More
Worlds and Volumes of Worlds
Carl walked down the POD to his cell. His flip-flops—inmates called them shower shoes—alternately popped against his heel and slurped when his feet pressed wet foam against the stone floor. He moved slowly to minimize the noises, which embarrassed him. Showering in general unnerved him, although he had no need for worry. These weren’t open showers like in the ... Read More
The Personal Trainer
My office was once somebody else’s bedroom. For $350 a month, I could fit a desk and a
Streetcars thunder over brick streets as
you ride from work each day of your single life,
I was searching by the sea
for the ancient harbor. Did an earthquake
destroy it? Alaric and his Visigoths?
This sidewalk? The opposite side?
Dad was disdainful of homeless people. I was instructed not to give anything to them,
It’s a myth, some say that salamanders
Prove the water table.
Yet I still seek that speckled affirmation
Lifting the well’s heavy
I was the only boy in Fifth Grade
in love with horses, reading Black Stallion books,
doodling appaloosas, palominos.
Hermes at The Spouter Inn
I was in the middle of a blissful summer, although I didn’t know it at the time. I was
Ann wasn’t a freak of nature as much as she was simply of nature. Old? Yes. She joked that
like the bones of miro
and if the poem is not a place
and if the word is nothing more than
a smaller form of violence
THE GIRL WITHOUT HANDS
My country cousins were coming, and I was finally going to meet the cousin without hands. They lived on
THE HARDY GIRLS
Gari Hardy triggered a mob on the lawn. She was a seventh grader, one year behind me at the