ON OVERHEARING THE PLUMSTEAD INN WAITRESS WHISPER THAT MIDGET MAN IS
HERE FOR DINNER*
As far as I know
depression does not run in my family
yet when I was twelve I asked my father
to put a swing set in the backyard, something
where I could be alone with my thoughts,
fly back and forth, up and down,
the direction I knew my emotions would follow.
I knew there would be days when the shit would
knock the fan over, right out the window, let alone hit it,
I'm talking about tearing the cord out of its socket and all.
When my best friend's grandmother,
after not seeing him all summer,
hugged him and said with an ear-to-ear smile
my, you're getting so big
I knew that my grandmother, even if she was alive,
could not say that to me.
My growth spurt left me like fresh air
abandoning the firefly jar
when my sister caught the measles
before my mother's womb knew the shit hit her,
my legs left dangling like broken fan blades,
tearing the cord out of its socket and all.
If only the waitress knew my name.
She would know more than she ever dreamed.
* * *
INSTRUCTIONS FOR HUGGING THE DWARF GOODBYE
AT THE WRITER'S CONFERENCE
The first one is always most awkward, hesitant,
a one sneaker in the store lace-up to see if it fits,
a try it on in the mall dressing room squeeze.
You will not break me, my shirt should read.
Slap a shipping sticker on me. Non-fragile.
No glass enclosed. Handle with carelessness.
Like toothpaste, laundry, salad dressing and
potato chip bags, I could come with directions.
For best results squeeze from the bottom, tumble dry,
shake well before using, grab both ends and pull apart.
And don't forget that shampoo mantra, repeat if desired.
I need a good marketing agency. Yes, smaller than
expected, he's our concentrated formula,
use less and wash the same amount of loads.
New and Different look.
* * *
THE DWARF'S SISTER PLAYS GOD
After Karen got her license,
she would take me shopping
with her, always trying to treat me
normal (does that mean I'm not?).
We'd go to Clover or Springfield Mall
and sometimes if she wasn't buying much,
I'd wait in the car, just along for the ride.
Inside, when people would starelaughpointshout
at me like I was Dylan going electric all over again,
she'd look them dead in the eyes and ask
do you want a picture?
They never answered her, but stood stone silent,
naked and shamed as Adam or Eve.