|Apr/May 2013 Poetry|
Artwork by Clinton McKay
Three Suburban Sonnets
My power is that when I hold a thing
I can see all the wonders that it's seen.
So folding any stone into my hand
I see the thunder lizard, the first car,
your mom undressing in the afternoon.
Your power is the more they cause you pain
the bigger and the stronger you become.
Together we fight demons from the moon,
and sentient brains on shadow earths estranged
behind the sun. So—high on Now and Laters
bought with scrounged-up change, we spend a summer
looking for the ideal mutant power combo
to spin us off forever from this town.
Your folks divorce. You move to Kansas, and you drown.
We eat most of our meals in parking lots.
Night, each of us in our own bucket seat,
her naked heels up on the dashboard panel,
lips slick with curried take-out grease,
we listen to cassettes. In nighttime parks
strip off our shirts, her feet in evening sand.
Or, with jagged nets of cornfields all around
press our hips and fingers to the earth.
A fact she hides from light, this lavish body,
a blackness full of insect sound and gall.
And driving home again from some late movie,
the paradise she always talks about
is paper plates and camp utensils. No-one around.
The distant freeways barely make a sound.
Over the grapevine every summer and down
to another Suburb, this one sealed in aspic
like a Great Plains town all of the young abandoned
to sun to peel its billboards' paint away.
Houses filled with star-shaped Blue Chip Stamp clocks,
ceramic owls, glass grapes and lazy-floating
plankton that drifts the drowsy living rooms.
But there are other joys: other grandparents'
grandchildren. Chlorinated lips, cool mouths
beyond the cypress-shaded edges of the yard.
Enfiladed view to temporary windows
from your own. And stab of leaving, August come
with friendship bracelet tanlines, fears of school,
a final evening swim in the dying fringe's pool.