Playful

Famous

The river is famous to the fish.

 

The loud voice is famous to silence,

which knew it would inherit the earth

before anybody said so.

 

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds

watching him from the birdhouse.

 

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

 

The idea you carry close to your bosom

is famous to your bosom.

 

The boot is famous to the earth,

more famous than the dress shoe,

which is famous only to floors.

 

Alone

I never thought Michiko would come back

after she died. But if she did, I knew

it would be as a lady in a long white dress.

It is strange that she has returned

as somebody's dalmatian. I meet

the man walking her on a leash

almost every week. He says good morning

and I stoop down to calm her. He said

once that she was never like that with

other people. Sometimes she is tethered

on their lawn when I go by. If nobody

is around, I sit on the grass. When she

That feeling of my soul getting yanked

That feeling of my soul getting yanked

I wonder where my soul hides when I’m sick

My heart feels as if it’s getting beat up

Is it because the restless ocean is clumping up?

My heart beats regardless of the pain

It beats spewing out red thread like a red spider

A sinkful of red thread gets submerged in water

My heart beats like a girl marathon runner who only had ramen to eat

 

Maybe the soul of the bald girl in a hospital gown hanging by the

Parable of the Eagle

An eagle egg fell into a farmer’s chicken shed

and when it hatched the farmer gave it chicken feed

even though he was the king of birds. The farmer

 

clipped the eaglet’s princely beak and raised him

as a chicken. When he grew large, wildlife control

called on the farm. “It has the heart of an eagle,”

 

said the public servant. “It will fly.” And the farmer

asked, “What if he likes it here with all the chickens?”

As they spoke, the birds crept off to don disguises.

 

How to Triumph Like a Girl

I like the lady horses best,

how they make it all look easy,

like running 40 miles per hour

is as fun as taking a nap, or grass.

I like their lady horse swagger,

after winning. Ears up, girls, ears up!

But mainly, let's be honest, I like

that they're ladies. As if this big

dangerous animal is also a part of me,

that somewhere inside the delicate

skin of my body, there pumps

an 8-pound female horse heart,

giant with power, heavy with blood.

Don't you want to believe it?

The Young Poets of Winnipeg

scurried around a classroom papered with poems.

Even the ceiling, pink and orange quilts of phrase...

they introduced one another, perched on a tiny stage

to read their work, blessed their teacher who

encouraged them to stretch, wouldn’t let their parents

attend the reading because parents might criticize,

believed in the third and fourth eyes, the eyes in

the undersides of leaves, the polar bears a thousand miles north,

and sprouts of grass under the snow. They knew their poems

39

Oliver Sacks is going to die,

He tells us blithely in the New York Times.

He’s 81. His liver’s shot.

 

He’s blind in one eye

Though when both worked fine

He could still get lost in a parking lot.

 

He’s extremely famous and terribly shy.

He’s lost his leg but it's still attached.

He’s been practicing dying, Oliver Sacks.

 

He will do it well,

Politely evading heaven and hell.

Doctor Oliver Sacks, farewell.

Too Negative

I was a kid other kids’ 

parents gossiped about.

 

They told their children

what I was: too negative.

 

I get it. Fair to fear

contagion of bad attitudes,

 

to think naming a thing

can be an inoculation.

 

Of course my friends

filled me in. Of course

 

I took my diagnosis

lying down on mostly

 

frozen sand. Loose

grains made their way

 

to my scalp. Stayed there

Wow! You've Changed

You’ve changed.

You used to be so

and now you’re all

like, you’ve transformed

I don’t know how to describe

it’s like

you don’t like canasta anymore

you text IN ALL CAPS

your selfies are so

animalistic

like, are you out to prove something

you’re a lion

you’re a bear

you’re a maggot

you’re a virus

I just don’t know

if we can be friends anymore.

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