Poetry

Childhood

(I): Library

The woman in the glasses sits

skeleton and quiet behind the desk

of mahogany-carved gates of hell.

Her eyes like gray bullets

molten and shaped in hard cast-iron fire 

crushed and pressed beneath the

silver days of youth.

The child in the ill-fitting shorts 

lost and entangled in the endless enchantment of prose

Words will-o’-the-wisp wave forth wonders. 

The whispers of bedeviled imps cannot

penetrate the fortress of this library.

The child in the pinched two-size-too-small shoes walks

up to the woman in the brown cardigan

Inquire further! reads the white card on the desk. 

And the child leans forward and stands on painful tip-toe

but the woman gazes glassily through those scarred spectacles

and she pretends as if there is no one there.

(II): Swings

Swings rusted red riding hood bloody

creak laconic and silent

under evanescent skies of blue.

A grip slips quick! 

and slides from the seat

Blood fills the corners of

this fractured concrete.

Mama, hug me and kiss it better–

swaddle me in my infinite sorrow,

and i’ll do the same for you

clothe you in black instead of beige

When the children cease to hang from these swings.

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