Apr/May 2006 Poetry

Two Poems

by Brad Bostian

The Bath

When I looked away from the bath,
My children took the water and twisted it,
Wrung from wash cloths fountains bent
Like turkey necks, and let them splash.
I was reading then and didn't notice
Since work had piled up and I was gobbled
By the hundred things I did. I guess the water
Sloshing and the splattered page brought me back
To give me this secret look. I saw them

Pull water into shapes, drawing
And kneading, twisting and braiding animals,
Looping and sewing dolls, bundling and weaving
Them cutting the sheer cloth of it, draping
The shining broad sheets like bright silk
Swerving in a fine breeze. The circus sheen
Of magic open-mouthed and dazzled me,
But I recalled the old clergyman
Had already ministered to them the coming to dust,

Smeared ashes on their uncharted foreheads,
Yet why not smudge their skin with ripening olives?
Amber apricots, sweet sap from old trees?
Honey locust gum? Might as well
Lead-line their shoes, or make them rattle along
Dragging casket wood. Why not instead
Put the conjurer's mark, the water mark on them?
I wore it once. It's the magician
I once was that drowned me where I stood.


Death of a Possum

In that moment when the dog released me,
A quiet took me in its jaws and shook me.
Did quiet do the wrapping or the long box carrying?
Who sifted down the earth of three shovels?
One teen standing, two children kneeling
When the sun released me to the elements,
And darkness took me in its jaws and shook me.
What do they know of the underworld
And the lonely tremors of the continents,
The trickling of sweet water past
The creeping of white roots?
No one will look here; silence has arranged
The accommodations. I must have known it,
Silent in the face of all those teeth.


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