Thursday, May 1, 2008

Karen Terrey

The Saddest Man In The World

his door is always open
to expose the half-naked body
in the pale shine of a fat moon.
he sits in the lumpy recliner,
a hairy tubor in the dark.
television lights flash green and blue
on his sweaty baldness twenty four/seven.
tiny eyes follow passing neighbors.
once, he left the trailer
lumbering side to side
two blocks to the seven-eleven,
legs and arms splayed
equal angles like a starfish;
goodyear tires of flesh
stacked into a human body
wearing xxxl boxers – nothing else.
the peehole gaped perversely.
children playing ball
crossed to the other side of the street
even the drug dealers moved aside
from the monstrosity
of sadness.

It’s Not Her Sister’s Hand She Holds

A thirteen year old, pregnant
again, in the street with little siblings,
kicking the ball, playing
with scraps of pictures
torn from magazines.
Martin is also thirteen.
He often carries the baby,
who is fearful,
leaning in his arms, her screaming face
twisted away from my dog.
The baby screams to defend herself,
as if she can, a belief
we hope to carry our whole life.
She does not disturb
the other children.
Tiene mieda, they shrug.
She is already on her own. Too young
to sit, she is propped up
by pillows in a baby doll stroller.
Martin says he wants a dog. Once
he had one but his mom
made him give it up
and his uncle took it

-both poems previously published in Moonshine Ink


In my dream,
the long causeway crosses a wide expanse of salty swamp,
green jungle rises from brackish water. I smile at a local man,
bare-chested, olive-skinned, Take me to a hidden beach.
We drive down the low empty highway. His damp face
closing in on mine, No sex, I say, faithful even
in my dreams.
Only inches from me
sleeps my lover’s body, so far away,
farther even than Burma.

Politics Of The Trampoline

The ground shimmers -
children laughing, falling,
clumsy feet stomping
up and down.
After dinner, ten year old boys
curse on the trampoline deck,
In the morning three year olds
Carla, Naomi, and Maria
play house under the trampoline
with tiny dolls.
They call out to me, Hi!
They say, Look what I have!
And inside balled dirty hands
one reveals a ripped picture of a gorilla
from a magazine,
It’s a monkey!
or a broken piece of white reflector,
Its ice!
The smallest girl holds a crumpled piece of paper without even a picture,
It’s a dog! she yells.
The ground shimmers all around -
shards of broken glass in the hot sun.

-previously published in Moonshine Ink

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