Saturday, March 1, 2008

Helen Peterson

Hairspray Will Only Hold You Down

sit still—


the hairs on your head tiny wings
more glorious than cartoon princesses
on a wardrobe of pink t shirts
as you gaze upon your kingdom,
major domo tree by your side,
spider knights doing battle with enemy
mosquitoes at your feet
freed at last of glass slippers

Deus Ex Machina

suspend the belief
the heat caught
within your clavicle
comes not from the blood—
running as wolves through your veins

madness is catching
look up into the rafters
believe in the ghosts suspended
with cloth and cord
listen to their whispers
…this is life…this is real
…it all comes together in the end



long black hands stretch across
the smooth white face that seems
to fall into their embrace; they laugh


glorying in the march of time
that ages the world around them
as they stand tall on firm mahogany legs
surrounded by numerous children

Assault With Batteries

Having dug them from the underbelly
of the latest plastic wonder
you throw them across the room
copper topped missiles making contact
with your mother’s face
tearing her gaunt smile to shreds
shattering framed glass.

Breathe in. Sharp. Think.

Breathe out. Slow. Move.

Make your way into the kitchen
for the dustpan and broom
grinding glass beneath you heels,
kick the D cells under the couch.

Drive down to Walmart
as if fresh Duracells
could bring the homemade back.

One of the Boys

Your three older brothers have hiked
the Appalachian Trail in February,
wrecked bikes among the Catskills,
stalked by grizzlies in the Rockies,
so it will take more than witnessing
a moth’s dismemberment without
shrieking, having the whiskey
finally go down smooth and hot
like it should, to impress them.
These are the John Wayne, Davy Crockett,
Sons of the Pioneers who sang you to sleep,
charged by your parents when they left for Heaven
to be your cavalry and teach you all you’ll ever need to know.
So when one comes up as you coax the embers back to life
and says “That’s a damn good fire”, your heart rears up
on it’s hind legs before galloping off into the sunset.

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