dirt on the welcome mat

Monthly Archives: May 2011

We are born polka-dots
Light pink spots for toes and cheeks.
Weeks of cribs and dangling shapes
Leave us spinning like pinwheels,
We feel breeze and bugs crawling,
Sunshine and hugs, and sprawling out,
We spread our colors around
Giggle sounds, as beach balls,
Tapped by older, happy hands, we float
Down to a perch among the shrubs,
Our shiny surface rubbed by flowers as we sit as garden globes
Until we grow continents and oceans
And are set in motion like the earth itself
In a room inside until our spinning charade
Squeezes and fades us into a single pushpin,
A marker on the map that used to be our sphere,
But plastic, seared and deflated,
We can resume our place.

All the paintings in his house

Were of the walls themselves.

Replicating boundaries,

Untraveled seas,

And memories

With each framed

Canvas layer,

His own brush painted

Dust and cracks

Between the shelves.

He held perfection,

Crushed, then glued

It back together,

And hoped that she

Was doing the same.

We keep sliding on the soft underside

Of the bar of soap,


No grimy fingers

Will press us 

Further in,

Already held by a sudsy glue,

We knew

We wanted clean hands,

But we’re not purified,

Just coated with white film,

Growing unnoticed beneath

A thick tombstone.

Two pennies in the pool,

Wishes washed,


By sun and stares,

Your glares

Inspire me

To throw

My own dreams


Seconds should tick,

Not flicker down,

Digitally compressing

Until they fly away,

Spinning green

Like little lights

On a UFO.

Life is time,

Time is sound.

Rounded fingernails click

On the tabletop,

Mental metronome

Sensory overload,

Don’t drop

The tempo.

Split ends,


Bending into ragged

Piggyback rides,

Sliding in thin

Between the

Healthy strands

On all sides,

Refusing to break

But making

Cracks in

A confident head

All the same.

Small talk,

The first test of endurance

For a quickly swelling tongue.

Harder questions then are flung

Until hitting

The back of the throat,

They slide down

To the stomach where

Butterflies should flutter,

But instead a swarm of wasps

Sting each phrase,

You utter

Utter nonsense

Just to keep

Their veiny wings


You were last box unpacked,

The first to know

I was leaving.

Somehow I can’t seem

To reassemble

The stacks of photographs

And silly notes

That I thought

Made up your smile.

Your style

Is unique,

Send me the instructions,


Elementary school
The clear plastic straw
On the side of a juice box,
Gnawed like number two pencils,
Squirting bright
Red splattered stains down
A wrinkled t-shirt.

We stuck to the fence better that way,
Our backs and mouths
Felt the
Cold silence.

Middle school
Lip gloss the color
Of balloon animals at the fair,
Squeaky twisted shapes that
Pop in the heat
Or at the hands
Of eager children.

The very sound of high school hallways
Sent fingernails into palms
Or over sticky lips
To whisper.

High school
The tangled seatbelt caught
In the passenger door,
Curling like nervous
Ribbon on presents
Stacked and scattered at the
Birthday party.

Identities passed around,
Bought and sold without a word
The stakes were high
And felt permanent.

Sunburned feet sink

Into the stretchy black abyss,

Into the woods’ dark holes

Into the dark pond mud,

And slide across the cool concrete basement floor.

Then propelled by springs, flailing fingers reach

To the top of the sprinkler,

Into the popsicle box at the back of the freezer,

For the fireworks as they burst above the pond.