Childhood’s Index

Lupercalia, Poetry

She always laughed when we caught fire.

She killed a baby bird with a sprig of holly and a cement block.

She was my best friend.

He was my first love.

He was afraid of the things I wasn’t.

He threatened to kill my rat.

She hated me but forgot who I was.

She asked me where I’d been in that way that wasn’t asking.

No one wanted me to be friends with her.

He also forgot about me.

He had nice socks.

She came and went and came and went.

She was the only person who always listened.

He wanted to die before making life better.

He died before I could ask him out.

He was the only person who asked me if I was okay.

She didn’t like the way I did things.

He always scared me.

She was the only one who read my poetry.

He didn’t make fun of my favorite movie.

He thought I would like something that I didn’t but at least he thought of me.

He learned how to hate me.

She made fun of my hair.

He played the cello and wanted her to buy him cigarettes. (I wanted to give him mine but he never asked me.)

He survived cancer.

I don’t know if he’s still alive.

She was jealous of everyone.

He went away.

He didn’t know I could speak.

He kept poking me but couldn’t make me cry.

She could spike a mean volleyball.

She lied to me.

She said I was a liar.

She believed I was going to kill someone.

He took “no” way too personally.

He led her on. She never suspected.

She let her parents push her around.

She didn’t escape.

She didn’t get Dylan Thomas.

She said poetry was way over her head.

She ate a flower.

He made me cry.

She could never quit smoking.

He slammed my hand in a steel door.

His best friend could do no wrong.

He let me play with spray paint. After he grew up he was embarrassed.

He waited for me.

She hated her body.

She didn’t look like her mother.

She didn’t know how beautiful she was.

He wanted to go home.

She cried all night, every night.

She hated herself more than the people who hated her.

He hated the cold.

She was born on the same day as the city.

She had bad luck.

She thought all rooftops should have swimming pools.

She had a voice like coffee and cigarettes.

He had a voice like broken windows.

She said she liked the look the sharks gave her when they cut through uncharted waters.

He was an officer who knew how to bleed alongside everyone.

He looked for things he could never find.

She looked at me and smiled.

She made hunting noises.

He slept loudly.

She felt alone all the time.

what runs away in the night

Lupercalia, Poetry

for Suzie, Aaron, and Bill

1. good dreams that never want to wake up

2. best friends, unconditional love

3. music only cats can hear

4. rosemary that refuses to stop growing

5. all the stories you want to read

6. all the hours you want back

7. the grey storm streaked with lightning

8. the soft sounds

Opossum Song

Lupercalia, Poetry

for sooj

run with the night

hide from the light

stitch to the dark

run to the mark

in the road where

we snare

the beloved,

the tangled departed

with our bright, sharp teeth

with our bright, sharp teeth

we dig through the ground

find what is found

eat the beloved,

the tangled departed

then run to the mark

stitched to the dark

hide from the light

run away with the night

Home

Fiction, Lupercalia

Home scratches at her shingles with tree branch fingers, pulls the air conditioning unit to her moldy, aluminum ribs and keens a whale song of mourning. We found her wandering the tornado snarled wild three months ago, empty and starving. We fed her pieces of dining room table, gas key fireplaces, and cast iron bathtubs, clawed feet first. We gutted her plumbing, ripped out her nerves and re-wired the electricity, reinforced foundation seams that let the water in every time it rained. She did not respond well. We found rot and mold in her corners, force fed her antibiotics and quarantine standard operating procedures while she belched ladder-back chairs, sofa cushions, wind chimes, and broken bookcases. She still has her bad days. After feeding time Home likes to sit back porch facing east and picture window facing west; Home sits and watches the sun set, sits for hours in the dark. She gets regular walks around the wolf pen—let her mingle with the vultures, I said, let her feel useful and clean up the dead, but no one would listen—she shakes every time the tornadoes come through. She has bad memories and, hopefully, maybe a few ecstatic ones. When it rains, Home hitches up her porch and hops from one corner to the other, splashing in the puddles when she can.