Oct/Nov 2000 Poetry

Four Poems

by tina



I am unraveling
across this country,
unwinding through cascading hills
and flat fenceposts, leaving
a toe here, an eyelash there,
in wide open air.
I am gathering
up this land,
filling my empty spaces
with limitless earth: trees
for fingers, a ribcage of
clouds, sunsets
sinking in my throat,
while my life's minutes
are flattened to gravel,
falling behind me
like the miles of soil,
paved and unpaved,
that I am pushing through,
like the snow I'll never feel
in Texas.


Longing to Write This

We stand in our modern
cubbyhole kitchen,
t-shirt and barefeet,
bare hands two
nervous birds dancing smally
on a tea-stained counter--
or twirling hair, stirring
a pot of rice with a pen and
trying desperately to make
the off-white walls appear
palest almond


Grandma's Cottage

We ate
cereal in bowls like
moons and only knew
every drop of pond
as simply wetly
ours, summers
when everything was
fine like fishing
line and the days
swayed like sails curving
shores, swooped
and spiraled into
crayoned clouds, into
the crucial point of
who can swim the fastest?

Our feet pounded
down the dock over
the years, piling up mountains
of stringy seaweed
and toys or dutifully
cleaning it every night
before playing cards
on the dim porch, watching bugs buzz
through layers of blue air,
mosquitos collecting on the screens,
crowding in to hear our jokes.

We eat
coffee for breakfast
now, and don't find
as much heroism
in the day patrick tried
to sail
and we, a
ramshackle coastguard
in a rowboat, brought
him safely home.
We don't recall so easily
the blue boat, the pink raft,
the brown dock,
wood warm beneath our feet,
but the dock recalls us,
has children baked into its boards
like sun--
a history of worries sliding
off spinning inner tubes,
a memoryfull
of not caring about
the splinters
from oars or
the sand in our bathingsuits or
all the swimming races when we
took off before anyone
said go.


in a name

people call it
san antonio, they
call it
san 'tone, they say
san 'tone is so hot
this time of year.
they never
think of their
ancestors, breathless
in the face of god
and bloodshed,
praying to the saint
of lost causes
with dark eyes drinking
in this ample land,
mesquite sapplings edging
a spectrum of sky, clouds
crowding in like orphans
to tumble over one another,
stumbling into
a dumb beauty
which cracks skulls
like war, seeps into minds
trying out the sound
for the first time
on lips dry with reverence
and sun. oh yes, they say, oh
we'll call it--
saint anthony.


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