Somewhere in Kentucky a forsythia
offers its yellow echo to the sun.
A long-haired woman haunts a window,
wonders what to do with an hour,
how to outlast the day,
follows a jet's silver glint in the dull sky.
She opens the curtain to more light,
but only questions wash the room.
How often do we look up
for warmth, beauty, answers?
Do we ache the bird's easy wing,
the chic of God's tongue
as we propel ourselves
into the star-blind wild,
dreaming that vast
and oh so incredible blue?
How to Tell Your Mother You Don't Like Knitting
It teaches wonderful skills for a girl:
focus, determination, patience.
She punctuates the air with one needle,
a green metallic exclamation point,
a shiny lightning rod offering
a straight path to heaven.
She shows you again and again
the simple intricacies of knit and purl,
of cast on and loop over loop,
clicking her joy like a demented robot.
Garter stitch coils like a snake
ready to sting your startled fingers.
Seed stitch surely sprouting
some garden from hell.
Tell her that your primary focus
is on Billy Johnson's ripe lips,
that your determination
is to get out of this laid-up town,
that you are 16 and hold no room
for that kind of patience in your life.
Decades later, you are back
opening the trunk she left you.
The green marbling of the scarf
gives color to your black dress.
You wrap the afghan around
your shoulders to calm the chill,
the shaking that will not stop.
The Room Upstairs
It's the kind of place people abandon
the night before the rent is due,
the kind where rain drops
in without being asked,
table tattooed with the smiles
of countless beer bottles,
bed the unwilling accomplice
of too many midnight confessions.
But the morning sun is kind
and the long window opens
onto the market street.
where, weeks ago, an old woman
gave me a pot of ivy,
the strands cascading
like dark fuzzy ropes.
Now, when I walk through
the door after mornings
writing at the local cafe,
my eyes hurry
to that green slash of life,
that earthy illusion of roots.