When She Left: April 2015 PAD Chapbook Challenge, Day Four

We took all the saucepans down,
the pots she hung from a metal grid
in the style of an ’80s movie or
a spread from a magazine,
like the ones she would buy
at the grocery store and then
try to fit us into. But with our black eyes
and skinned knees, and everything chipped,
we would not fit. So, in time, she quit making
chicken Marsala or Marbella or whatever it was,
and we ate those frozen dino-shaped nuggets,
barely warmed. When she left, we all watched
out the window, straightened ourselves up,
tried to look presentable at last. For once.
We knew she was really gone, might not
ever come back for those pots—but
we boxed them up for her anyway,
one inside the other, however
they would go.


Way Back Then

But don’t follow me, darling;
I’m not going where you need to go.
This bus doesn’t stop on freeway
overpasses. This bus barrels through
the night until it reaches its
final destination, comes to a stop,
is explored by voracious crabs
and enterprising sea birds. Don’t
follow me unless you want to come
to ruin on some stinking shore,
the least picturesque beach
in America, as declared by
Readers Digest, in some foxed
issue I found in the garbage
behind a doctor’s office,
back when I was a scavenger.
Back and back and way back then.

And with that, I’m all caught up. This was for the PAD Chapbook Challenge, Day 14. Prompt: a “follow” poem.


Your Host

If you need anything while I’m asleep,
please feel free to smash the glass.
I think you’ll find your accommodations
are quite pleasant. We didn’t skimp
when it comes to the shag carpeting—
it’s wall-to-wall and double-ply, also
sealed for your protection. We believe
in safety here. Safety and sanitation,
everything buttoned up just like
God’s own sewing kit. A stitch,
you know, a stitch in time saves
feathers. That’s what they say—
or we say it, anyway. We say
a lot of things around here.
I think you’ll find us downright
chatty. Garrulous as gabardine,
and almost as sacred as mice.



If it’s Tuesday p.m., check out Open Link Night at dVerse Poets.



Liar (for NaPoWriMo, Day 2)

I was once the world champion
in candlepin bowling. This was
three years running, in the ’80s.
(I no longer apologize for my
teased bangs in all the photos, or
my acid-washed bowling pants.)
I keep all my trophies in a case
that my father made for me—
hand-carved, gorgeous, with a
glass front that I dust using the
first-shorn wool of only my best

llamas. (I saved my prize money
carefully—that’s how I bought
this ranch.) Llama ranching has
its own satisfactions, ways to
stay competitive: fiber length
and fineness, for example, or
guarding tendencies—but not
meat production, though this is
a line I’ve been asked to cross,
many times. Nonetheless,
there are times when I miss

the circuit. Candlepin bowlers
are a tightknit group, and my
hand still longs for the ball,
my ears (I can admit this) for
the twin hushed crashes of
pins, then applause. This, not
cruelty, is why I often dream of
lining up the baby llamas, the
crias, quietly knocking them
down before their mothers
even know that they’re gone.

NaPoWriMo, Day 2 prompt: a poem that tells a lie. Oh, jeez, and it’s also Open Link Night! Will link there this evening.


What He Made

he made, all his dealing days.
I meant to say, he made
some really bad ones.

excuse, please, if I
leave things out at times,
words, punctuation,

capital letters. those can
be heard, you know. or
you hear when they

are missing. missing.
anyway, jim and all his
dealings, he never made

anything much good
except two children
with Irene who always

said he should stop
making deals because
great as it was to have

a huge fish or a pop-up
camper, there were times,
too, when jim got took,

knew he got took,
banged his head
on the door jamb

it’s a long way down
to where you’re crying
in front of your wife,

those kids. those kids
always wondering
what daddy had

in his pockets. irene
wanting to know
what jim had

to show for himself.
not enough, is it no
never enough


For NaBloPoMo and PAD Challenge, Day 16 (prompt: Use the last line of yesterday’s poem as the first line of today’s).