The Innisfree Poetry Journal

by Margo Solod

Your mother appears--angry, manic, a red
wine stain spreading across the page. Your father
stands near the edge, away from the mess, never
coming quite close enough to the bed
to see your next-door neighbor
stealing your childhood. He's your excuse
for the pain spilling over each Us,
every I and You in the poem no matter where or
how carefully they are placed on the page.
Men in your poem tread lightly on
the surface, women tear edges, chew margins.
Someone is always leaving the story in a rage,
losing her place, her way, her mind,
something vital left behind.
Names change, someone better comes along
but the poem, the poem is always humming that song.

You write, I've looked for you for years,
as if I were the lost artist, run off
with a writer who read
like the definition of rage,
like a street corner preacher
from the Church of Perpetual Pain
and Disillusionment.
A small, homely man,
glasses as thick as the bottom of  a shot glass,
he wore Drunk like a ceremonial robe
wound around old wounds that oozed
the bitterness of not enough--
It was clear enough to me
he saw you as everything
he thought he shouldn't have,
and better still, a slap in the face
of his father who stood at Wounded Knee,
while his son sat on a St. Paul barstool.
I know, he told me in his raw
and bleeding poems; the strongest
part of him. And now you ask
if I remember you--
How could I forget; your painting
sits above my fireplace, reminding me
each evening of your disappearance,
that last night when he came into the room
and took your hand, pulled you
off the couch, out the door--
you looked back
as if to say I'm sorry,
he looked back to say
I've won and both
of them were true.

Outside is colder than it looks,
gray sky peels away in tatters
under bare oaks.
I peel a clementine, savor it
as if it were the only warmth of  winter.
The basement glows
with the light of new life
pushing through man-made earth,
fooled by a 40-watt bulb
into false spring.
I lose myself for hours
in the bright red and yellow
scraps of a piecework quilt,
roused only
by the dog wanting in.
My old shepherd knocked delicately,
one paw against the glass,
this new pup hurls himself
exuberantly at the door. This cabin
can stand up to him, even
to the silence
of a winter storm that wraps us
16 inches thick in cotton batting,
holding everything in
and away at the same time.

Copyright 2006-7 by Cook Communication