Apr/May 2010 Poetry

Two Word Poems

by Nathan McClain

Portrait of my daughter drawing a landscape

Sky of construction
        paper. Sky of one cloud begetting
another. Sky she can't imagine

        touching. A colored pencil,
        dusted with pollen.

Look, I can wrinkle
        the sun with my thumb.

She suspends

        the plums in flight.
I think of the tree
        taking it all back. First,

the leaves,
        then branches,
the green chunk of front lawn.

        It wants the globe
of the earth,
        the stars, too,

glowing like her bedroom
        ceiling, unglued,
shimmer falling into her

        sleep. It's no wonder,
when I touch her face,
        She feels light

years away.


Poem that began as a tanka

her smile—
                    a snow globe I want
to smash
                    with a giant hammer,
the sky. Shy
                    daughter of laughter, stamping
                    wrinkles shut. Daylight,
and us
                    drifting into sleep like boats,
oars slunk
                    into the river, grit of sand stuck,
our backs
                    landing at the edge of a country
we haven't


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