Nov/Dec 1999 Poetry

Three Poems

by Patty Mooney


What Comes of Anger

We face each other
from two sides
of the backyard gate.
He is younger, tougher,
his hair darker
and I hate him
swinging the gate
at me.
I shove it back
all the strength I have
in the gate
catching him
in the eye.

Years later the scar
makes him even tougher.

Meanwhile sorry
for the hell
I unsnap
my shirts and trousers
lay myself bare;
allow anyone
with dark hair,
to get me back.


Swallows Don't Go

The swallows don't go
to Capistrano
anymore, weary and wary
of tourists flown in from Idaho,
New Mexico, Arizona,
binoculars in tow.

The swallows disdain Capistrano,
vote to relocate
south, stone's throw
"as the crow flies"
to San Diego ghetto.

The swallows forego Capistrano,
cheeks loaded with mud.
Parents-to-be swoop
from infinity to beneath
the eaves of our home.

The swallows abandon Capistrano
completely. Who knows how?
Making babies in the rafters
some eggs shatter.
Most yolks come through, though.

The swallows forget Capistrano.
Their hatchlings
clamor for nutrients.
Harried parents
go fetch more food
as sparrows bide
stolen moments
when solo babies
reveal their position.

The swallows are a no-show
in Capistrano, concerned only
with raising a family
braced against sparrow
and starling death squads.

The swallows have flown
the Capistrano zone, no
going back. Their up-
side-down mud huts
just this side
of no return.


Hawaiian Shirts

His closet's crammed with colors
cotton island patterns: big florals,
palm trees stirring in erotic
breezes, Polynesian beauties
with lush black hair, a scent
of salt and gardenias.
Their low murmuring wafts up
like distant island drums.


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