North and Swallow

The way the wisteria crawl the canopy 

And drape down limp, a stretched-out coil

It strikes me as a father’s hand

(I feel as if I’ve been here once)

If the moon snuffs out 

And smoke ribbons down 

(The more I stare, the more it unsheathes)

I’ll look toward the other door

But branch-hung down, the chrysalis silk

Held fruits that swell to fighter fists

Flicker like lighters

Burst like empty ones 

They call it the forest’s chandelier

My breath snags on a branch as my eyes make you out

By the river’s drunken edge

The lamplight eyes

(Are they reflecting light?)

Of foxen gaggling in the brush

It strikes me twice,

harder than before

We met as North and Swallow

Photo by Altınay Dinç on Unsplash

Terrycloth Dog

In a snapshot mother framed

There’s that sweet old toy from our childhood

Plastic pellet-filled, floppy eared dog of white terrycloth

Cotton-head drooping from her hand, by the paws

Torn open a multitude of times but always stitched back up 

Sometimes opened at the same place, those stitches create the weakest spots

If you push it into a washing machine

It might come out store new

If the water, like grey, shiny stones, rinses off parties of a six year old 

And sticky gum and rancid juice

If the drum slamming cracks abraded, 

Glass marble eyes open wide

And stitching comes undone, the tears-

They might open up again

Alarmed by the beeping of a cycle’s end

You can unlock the door to dandelion mounds 

Rain-logged clouds 

Head flattened out

Unravelling limbs 

Red cotton strings 

Suspended in the U-bend

You can nip the skin ‘tween two pegs 

Unfolding and folding, an outstretched flag like a hand

Lingering ‘round the pelt, pin-hole black bugs 

Pinned up as a tiger rug 

Where black stripes are her jewels 

Are her slices, are her eye shards

Are her blown off body parts 

Her lamb throat, her cow heart

Her penance, hecatomb

Midnight vigil, ten years long 

In childhood bedrooms

You can toss it away, just tell them it got lost

And rest in the hovered grasp

At the drooping of the paws

You can let go

The skin will fill itself out

It will balloon—

it will parachute

Photo by Andrew Winkler on Unsplash