was born, Mom says, by the Slice-
N-Tug, Cesarean, just hand-
a toy from a trunk God-tanned
And yet, transparent? ice-
cord choking a hold
Around my neck. I convalesced
In incubator sheen, undressed
darling, Ive been told.
preemie small, I grew
Past grown (Goddamn Incredible Hulk.)
too-short pants and breasts, all bulk,
And nipple peek-a-boo,
and Glamour Do.
Im Elegance. Ive seen moms scar,
stretch mark of rouge et noir,
The pubescent residue
the navel down, from where
I grew my pigments treasure trail
bristle on an alpha male.
But am I debonair
someone told me once,
Youre big enough to be a man
Adam in Eve, all Dapper Dan
And Dressy Bessy? Once,
three times a lady? Yes,
Me tall? Yes. Model-like Ill lie
In a Da
Vinci sprawl (fee fi ... )
And feminine finesse.
Stretch. Im doll-like seams
Inside and out. My brains in two
split again. In transitu
My veins shoot blood in beams
brilliant red, the red
Of airbrushed lips, of toy-faced cheeks.
flirt in flush because Cliniques
On sale. Ill lie in bed
a daydream death
With playtime rigor mortis, id stiff
poise, and watch my midriff
Rise, and hear one last breath.
mortem, Mommys prize
Will close her eyes and (finally) abstain,
Porcelain Princéss, the Chatelaine
Dwindling to average size.
in the Attic
to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things
if Id move enough to make a noise
As loud as theirs, those bees, I circled
My whirring bedroom, hurdling childrens toys.
I thought my
lungs would buzz the attics sound,
shh and hum; went round until
I lost my breath, lay down. The ceiling wet,
dark with the hive, I dreamt the comb would spill
Its honey on my pink blankets.
When it met
lips the plaster lath would crack, and sweet
Dead bees stuck to the stucco
shards would swarm
My face. Id drown in wings and the petite
with the giant verve. So, warm
wrapped, I moved the covers, stood on my toes
And reached, and to this day
reached. And to this day nobody knows
The stuccos crimson dot came from
When helping Mom in our small kitchen, I flung
and the afterflows
faucet-drips with flicking fingers, throws
To the fogged window above the sink.
I waited, for seconds until the window wrung
Itself of green,
steam tears and the glass sang the woes
hissing chicken thighs fried in the cast
Iron pot. And the window sang in Grandmas
Go Down, Moses, and the stained-glass sugar plum
that hung on the liquid pane at the last
My people go, raised up
her hands. Rejoice!
I heard the bees from there growl in a hum.
there, I heard the bees growl in a hum
Everywhere, in Sylvan lilacs that I
For the basements dollhouse, singing in the drum-
pulse as the washer flowed and clicked.
noise was huge to the pint-sized figurines
Who had no ears, but eye-shaped
mouths. I posed
Their arms and legs in small domestic scenes
home, their tiny red door closed,
eye-mouths always open in a gasp
Or scream, as if something were about to fall
their house like the locust plague. The hasp
Was fastened tight. I knocked
them down, played all
died before the darkness could descend
As if, somehow, Id write their
if somehow Id write the perfect end
To every moment, tonight, outside
Long left behind, I watch a hydrant douse
A child. And when I let
the darkness bend
me in a blink, I fade to black.
Eyes closed, I eulogize the Harbors dock,
Bay, the lit-up Bromo-Seltzer clock
Blue in the smoke from the beacon, the
quasi-black against the smokes bright white.
The voice inside my head
is talking smack.
The coda of today is just tonight,
No climax, only here
and the bric-a-brac
memories just fond in retrospect.
In them, the springs azaleas genuflect.
them, that spring, azaleas genuflect,
Wilting, about to die in our little garden;
noon sun bores too hot; sweat droplets harden
And case my cheeks as new weeds
ants in sidewalk cracks. That spring, I cried
And checked and checked in mania.
My hardest but it never took. No doubt
I didnt have the guts
to try. But Id scout
(tool shed? shower? tub?), and Dad
And Mom, in separate rooms, would sleep
My tiptoed wandering about our blue,
Big siding house. I settled
on the plaid
my own sheets, penning the letter in
My head. It pounded with adrenaline
pounds in my head with my adrenaline.
Call me the dummy, the
Dead as the dancer in the box that sings
The Mendelssohn on
the top shelf and rings
With the scope of bells, and vibrates with the sound
clocks. The clock ticks loud as Fall rewound
At every equinox, again and again.
when you think of me remember when
I last said Sorry. As the autumns pass
quarter to five, the time goes fast, and the grass
Will slow its growth. But
I am huge in your head,
Pounding. And were the same. Your blood Ive
Youre sleeping in my bed now with my bees.
in the hollow sound of seas.
now Im swimming in that sound of seas,
The inexhaustible murmur. Now
To letters at this desk of letters, keys,
Paper and screen,
critics. The narcissists tried art inside
looking-glass, distorted, wide
With me and my burned hair, a blistered ember
the core of the stoves hot comb. And I remember
silence sweet as canopy beds or a girl
In spinning duchess satins whispered
Then, all the days ahead were bees in the attic,
The moments still
unseen but heard, ecstatic,
blood as I stood, now stand, all poise,
As if Ill move enough to make