dirt on the welcome mat

Monthly Archives: July 2011

I’ll never forget how faithfully

You tucked me in with burlap,

Wrapped ice packs around my toes,

And placed a heavy green glass

Of bubbly mud by my bedside.

You read aloud half a manual

On gears and car parts,

Threatened me with a test,

Then turned on the light

And said,

”Sleep might hit you in the head

With a sledgehammer,

Share the bedbugs

With the monsters in your closet.”

Behind stained glass and curtain sheers,

Radio static and refined fears,

Translucent like acid rain,

We plant plastic flowers

And hope they grow.

We move with inky shoes 
Across desk calendars,
Jogging twice around
Each day’s black square,
Squeezing our bodies
Through cursive reminders,

Dyeing hair to match
Highlighted events,

Stopping only to glance
At the numbered sun
In the left hand corner.

Soothe my see-through stomach

Made of tip jar glass

With soft green slips

Of conversation,

Too many clanging


Have circled the bottom

Until they sit in piles,

Staring through the eyes

Of the dead men

Stamped on their

Cold faces.

When you’re old, you’re crazy

She confided.

I stood,

Fellow Walmart customer,

One foot back,

One item in hand.

Speedy checkout,

The one for that last ingredient

Remembered halfway through making dinner,

The get that child some cough medicine,

I can’t take it anymore,

The don’t get in my way I’ve been craving this food

Since last week’s commercial,

The no-nonsense,


Can you even call it shopping


Especially when you’re with your husband

And you can’t do anything right, she continued.

Cute. Old. Couple.

Three words about as relevant

As Speedy. Checkout. Line.

Paying with credit card and check,

She cleared her signature on accident,

Almost dropped her purse,

And looked in my direction

While fumbling for ID.

Sorry sweetie,

Have a nice day.

Sometimes you can’t help

But smile.

We’re waltzing on tippy-toe,

Floating like snow,

Topsy-turvy together.

Feathers in a pillow fight,

Two eyes moving back and forth

At night to the rhythm

Of a dream

Seamless and syncopated,

Weighted ticks in measured time

Bring us again to rhyme

And reason.

Your sounds

Are mentholated music,

Giggle-shouts and whisper-songs

Swirl into the wall’s pores,

Soothing and stretching

Exiled toys and the timeout corner

Into a colorful oblivion.

We ride the stained magic carpet to

Your stereo smile

And like dancing bears,

Forget our manners

And the time

But always remember to sing

Ourselves to sleep

To the off-beat rhythm of fun.

Fine words, not print,

Snatch the most from you.

Take your chances

And skip straight to

The x and dotted line,

But each letter you sign

Will be in ink invisible,

A language unknown.

We drew the sky in sidewalk chalk

Then walked barefoot

Until the sun rubbed into our toes,

Soft and cool.

You said

Share your secrets on the concrete

And the rain will wash

Each pastel curve

Into the cracks.

The dark, cold mud
At the pond bottom
Sits between my teeth
And their pink gums,
Sounds sink brown
And water bugs jump.

Please pass the plate
Of frayed orange lifejackets.
I’d like an oar or two
In my sweet tea tonight.
Do you see the light
Bob in the ice cubes

Like the waves
Crashing through my ears,
Sending fish and bait
Flopping, sopping up
A swimming appetite
From my dinner plate?