seen him hang the dog on her chain--
sure as you'd dangle a teabag
above a cup--ten claws
glitter in the air and inches
from the slumpstone
porch, ten like hamsters praying.
Only now it's low-framed houses
he robs. That's this boy's rage.
been with me all winter. Something slow
in the night. Taste of the comet
dusting my molars with foil. And each
metal filling is a memory of him.
Once, he's learning to count, sometimes
backwards to erase his mother. Another
is the time they move him from pitcher
to dugout, teaching him nothing
is fair, teaching me how to hold pain.
And later, the cinnamon fur of the fox
he has trapped and tacked
between bright Hustler pinups.
last time, I reach through sleep's heavy
foliage for the phone. It seems he's
putting someone else's fingers
in the fanblade, strangers
with nothing against this kid choking
off the chance for a decent life. I say
goodbye to it all again with a twist
of the jailhouse dial--his new steel
bars so cobalt blue they must
be stolen from some playground.
there's solder flying through
the eye's milky resin. An arc
of perspiration hits the dark, seeping
up my nightshirt once again. Just rinse
the mind of its dull red
blinker and there you have it--an engine
in your face, demanding to show you
those things you will always
forget--the things he did to others, the things
he's done to you.