Monday, March 28, 2016

Quarry Girl

for Indira

I lie at night on the floor
next to the bed my parents share.
My quarry hammer and my thick black hair
serve as my pillow. Still, I find sleep
and dream the Mahabharata. 

I am Ganga. My hair shines
and winds through the land.
Women weave flowers in its length.
I am the patient enemy
of Sagarmatha. Bit by bit,
I cut and carve and ruin.
My handsome husband, King Shantanu,
smiles upon me, calls me beautiful,
loves me. I bear his children.  I break his heart
by giving them to the river,
setting them free.

I wake when my father stumbles
from bed in the still dark morning,
his foot is gentle in its nudge
upon my back. I rub my eyes
and run calloused fingers
through the mountain dust
that clings to my hair.
Take my hammer.

First appeared in The Homestead Review - Spring 2016

This poem was written for Indira after seeing her photograph in the amazing "Where Children Sleep" presentation.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Old Firs

I often eat lunch in Awbrey Park beside four crowded fir trees
leaning this way and that, as if not on speaking terms. These trees

are tall and weathered with brindled bark and the same wrinkled
scowls that line the hallways of old-folks homes. They’ve earned

the right to appear irritated by the fat gray squirrel fidgeting
along the arborvitae hedge. I imagine them wincing, remembering

all those generations of squirrels before him. I imagine them pursing
their lips, wondering how many more they will live to see. A crow flaps

from within their prickly branches; the wind blows. We five shiver
together as I stand, unstiffen, remind myself that they are only old firs.

First appeared in Poetry Breakfast on March , 2016.