Home to Roost

Never a twilight kitchen curtain closes—
apple gingham blocking apple tree,
roosting swifts, twittering in aggregate—
as never inside a silence falls, bereft of
any comfort. Never think that these
evenings will be embroidered on towels,
suspended in amber, frozen in memory.
Time has curtains of its own, divides us
from seeing each other, the drift of clouds
scudding treetops, until it is too late.
Listen: All our dead mothers call all our
dead selves from all our dead doorsteps
at all our dead back doors.




In line at the Bon Marché in Seattle with my mother,
I heard a high-pitched scream. A woman ahead of us
laughed and said it was probably her husband, who
was afraid of escalators. Life moved on, but my mind
stayed in that groove for a long time—maybe a couple
of years. Somehow, that screaming man became a

villain, Snidely Whiplash-style, with mustache,
top hat, and cape. We moved from Seattle to
Thief River Falls, Minnesota, but the memory
moved with me, packed away someplace
secret, so I could play it like a Disney 45

in my playroom in the basement, any time
I needed to scare myself, any time I needed
to make my formless, nameless fear into
something I could turn on and off, or just
let play, over and over, until it was done.


For NaBloPoMo and PAD Challenge, Day 27 (prompt: write about a hero or villain). Also for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets, which will open at 3 p.m. EST today (Tuesday).