Jan/Feb 2013 Poetry Special Feature

Two Word Poems

by Antonia Clark

Family Dynamics: A Brief History

Already a month late,
I send my mother a blizzard
of pain, arrive 10 minutes
after she gets to the hospital.

I'm not quite the idea
they've been carrying around
all this time. Dad drinks it in
while Mom sleeps it off.
I'm a storm squall of trouble.
They make the best of it,
boil bottles, diapers,
rubber nipples.

But babies keep appearing
like rabbits out of hats. A trick
that soon stops amusing.

She says he never asks permission.
He says she never gives consent.

She tries vitamins, mineral salts.
He tries camouflage, subterfuge.
She pops barbies and hearts.
He pops cans of Pabst.

I hide the evidence, change
the babies, navigate cross-currents
of duty and desire. One day,
without asking, I'll disappear
from their story. In the next one,
I'll swing my empty arms, wear
a tinkling pop-top necklace, move
to the music of the spheres.



The wind keeps us vigilant
but a blizzard beguiles,
then buries us.

The house leans into it,
a woman who should know
better, giving in
to disastrous love.

Once, we thrived
on turbulence, loved nothing
more than a storm.

The little death wish
of mutual consent.

Now, we scramble to batten
and barricade, navigate
by lantern and shadow,

hold on to one another
when the air crackles
with static, tastes
of mineral on the tongue.


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