Lost in the Fun House
(prelude)I remember when all I had to do was read
to you, pat your back as you slept, make a face,
silly noises...when my nonsense didn't need sense,
and the carnival of my love was all.
Now you're camped in your room down the hall,
and when we pass, it's like strangers across a fence,
and my sideshow of faults is empty space.
I should have known that love isn't all we'd need.
1. Storm from the GulfThe wind flattens Nellie's fur as she herds,
her back to the land, the gulls above like kites.
She doesn't understand that birds won't pen,
and won't leave and don't complain. They sing
the storm closer -- caws and effect. Rising
tide waters bring the junk in -- sardine tin,
magazine cover, fishing line: delights
like the answered prayers of empty words.
2. Comedy and TragedyRain blew up against the condo's shingles --
the storm a placid placer miner, clearing
us out for the gold of holding this place alone.
But we hunkered down and got a video:
The Thin Man, Charade, something we know
enough to love, something loved for being known,
the last summer before child rearing
became child losing, parents as lonely as singles.
3. BeautyYou dawdle like every teenager -- mirrors
and the world look back like you think you look.
One minute like a ballerina poised upon an egg,
next the egg, waiting for the crack to come.
You are, of course, beautiful, as winsome
as any woman a father ever loved, but you beg
me to say nothing, and so I don't, and write a book,
full of the words I've never said and all my fears.
4. GenerationSlugs beset the roses, leaf rot and root rot,
even the bees are dying -- a menacing aphid
undoes their wings. A social insect with no place
to go. My prayer for you, whenever I pray,
is that you'll live a little more each day.
This one day is all we get, one little race
we run, one plot in which our flowers are hid.
For you, my dear, here's one forget-me-not.
Teenage years. What would we do without them? Much better now.