poems from Potato
scar on her throat, hole in her stomach,
birthmarks of a different kind,
her from an original form.
was not born to feel moldy
a wet swimsuit left too long
a zip-lock bag, not born to vomit
the floor or sleep in the foyer of chaos,
the fever coats her in thick paint.
turns inward and thinks of van Gogh,
ear, and those prehistoric sunflowers.
fact that she sees a self-portrait
a bandaged ear and feels nothing
envy, recognition, and luck
her reasons to fight.
starts to listen to the inertia
her body, and finds out a war occurs
every action of the mitochondria;
time a cell fights for the perfect ratio,
to air, food to energy, it tells her
something is lost between her veins
the pastel capillaries of Amsterdam.
she learns survival, since we are not born
this complicated kind of painting,
the more primitive sort,
that smells of coal mines and dirt,
that tastes sadness with potato eaters,
that frees the brain from feverish paint.
eat the bread with raisins and some butter,
remembering how I
first learned to knead it.
My mother’s hands would shape
in careful mounds, the counter floured
dusting, light as graying memory.
I mix the dough with raisins
and some sugar
moving the moist glob with my hands.
warn me not to knead too gently,
her hands would show me how
should give and tug, like elastic,
surrender; let the yeast begin
to tease the bread with flavor
and some nurture.
As we stand in the kitchen, light
the heat takes over with deft precision;
mother’s hands would ease the bread
sleep. She tells me now
to let it sit, give it time, watch it
I eat the bread with raisins and some butter.
to see her hands rising in my own.
she gives him the airline ticket
Christmas, he takes it, and lands
the terminal without a companion;
loose tooth on top of it all. A woman
a shady dress opens the bar door,
the light swirl up in strings
revolve around the room to match
nucleus of his mood. The book he reads
exhausted two hours after malted
finally gave him glimpses
the shifting twilight he will miss
the route to a strange world. Distance
be measured only by dark shivers,
kind that sweep down the spine
given the chance. Before the last flight
asks for the bill and discovers
far away from his life he really is.
night willows in and out of alleyways,
removes gloves from his pockets,
and walks from the shuttle stop
Boyle Street where he lives. It’s easy
leave the thick molasses air of the bar,
be lonely tonight with his wife
television. The toothache and the knot
his stomach mimic a feeling of regret
this is not his life. The wind
burrowed into the cuffs of his shirt,
his skin, and cut the night off