Pie Lee by Linda Parsons

Through the bed railing, our game 
to pass time in the ER: he pokes out 
a hand, we shake, he draws back, 

laughing. Nearly midnight in the ER,
again my father slips to the fence 
of his old backyard, reaches  

to the little neighbor girl who peels
foil from Juicy Fruit. So young,
she is unable to say his full name:

Phillip Lee. She pokes gum 
through the wire, draws back, laughing: 
Pie Lee, Pie Lee, you can’t catch me. 

Unable to say his name, my father
criss-crosses the wiring in his brain, 
its young lights long past midnight’s 

hour. So long our wait, he draws 
back the rumpled bedsheet, the floor 
blue cold beneath his feet. 

Our game pokes time through 
uncertain gain, little child I tend 
this night rails against those lesser 

lights. All the girls he might catch 
just past his reach, growing so 
like tendered fruit the other side 
                          of the fence.

Linda Parsons is an editor, poet, and playwright in Knoxville, Tennessee. She is the reviews editor at Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, former poetry editor of Now & Then magazine, and has contributed to The Georgia Review, Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Southern Poetry Review, The Chattahoochee Review, Shenandoah, and American Life in Poetry, among other journals and anthologies. Her most recent poetry collection is This Shaky Earth, and her newest endeavor is writing for The Hammer Ensemble, the social justice wing of Flying Anvil Theatre.

return to poetry             home