Oct/Nov 2001 Poetry Special Feature

Appointment, 8-23/4pm

by Tara Brever

Art by Bob Dornborg


Appointment, 8-23/4pm

I am afraid of razors again,
metal, the eager-
sharp heads of shovels
prying open
the steaming ground.

My psychiatrist tries to scrub
me clean with her advice,
as if her words are witch hazel,
Use cold water to fight
panic-wash your face,

but panic lives somewhere
in my neck, in that un-named
space, like before they had a word
for midnight.

My mother thinks everyone
is buried in her backyard.
Today it's a child molester
who got Sent Back to Denmark
in 1883, but that could mean anything.
It could mean his granddaughter's
grip on a lead-heavy frying pan,
it could explain the missing
strychnine, it could mean
a quick hole by the creek.

Stop focusing
on the negative.
When are you going
to let yourself
be happy?

But has she ever felt
her heart
splatter, just give up
and roll over,
play dead?

Last week my Grandfather
had to bury his dog, Boots.
He'd named her after that song-
for another of his country
for one of the few still alive.
When I had lunch
with him on Tuesday
his hands looked strange and small.

I am afraid of August again,
the heat that tricks
you open, the lying
sun with its cold
black heart.


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