have left me paper-like,
My stomach is a bin
of shredded documents
and each time I cry
my thoughts smear dark clouds
under each eye.
Newspaper stands undulate in the sun,
but I need someone to read my paper palm
and pinpoint what the fuck is wrong with me.
Stamp me, file me, crumple me, destroy me,
write in my margins then shuffle me in with the others,
make me into an airplane and sail me across the room,
fold me up and cut me into a chain of people
or maybe write a love poem on my back
and give it to a girl feeling paper-like,
and carelessly dog-eared.
looking for anonymity
i go down the hill
to sloping streets and buildings
which are tall
and pretty much streets themselves,
and I get even more lost in these streets
with their cryptic padded elevators,
the colors of a marsh
and empty floors
under renovation and
I get so lost in these streets
slamming different buttons
and getting more frantic every time
the bell dings
and those doors slide open.
My dad lives in northeast Ohio,
in a town that’s continuing to grow
despite his pull to keep the calendar stuck on September 1993.
His neighbors are babies, old people, and people in between.
But they all live in the same part of town,
a gated community with paved pathways
and hanging flowers in the springtime.
Dad is situated next to this full, nodding tree,
resembling a mushroom with this impressive head of leaves,
but no branches for climbing.
When my friends and I would visit him,
we would give up on climbing that tree
and we’d start climbing all over his neighbors’ houses.
Some are cement one levels , like his, and we conquered them easily.
Some of the babies’ houses are in the shape of little lambs.
Some are weathered tin statues, with sharp steeples.
But the best are the taller cement houses, with a large enough base that we could swing a leg up.
And then the cannon!
They have a cannon at the bottom of the hill, longer than any of the houses, that we could perch on, wondering what war it was used in, but having no reference to war other than movies we’d seen and books we’d read.
My aunts and uncles are combing grey hairs onto their heads now,
and their bellies are expanding a little more each Christmas.
My cousins are having soft-skinned babies
and my skin gets more ink-stained whenever I have the money.
But he stays the same.
He plays in his garden,
pushing up black-eyed susans and cactus flowers,
taking pictures of their smiling
petals of yellow, orange, and gold.
Sunrise petals start my dad’s day,
he plays his banjo
and sings “You Are My Sunshine”
to the neighborhood kids,
and to me,
knowing I’ll hear a few random notes,
though I’m across the country now
and haven’t heard him sing since I was 3.