Saturday, September 30, 2006

Yet Another Old Poem, Circa 1998

Crossing Your “t”s to the Northeast

Recently rinsed underwear hanging over the hamper
like used parachutes draped over sycamore branches,
baby blankies tossed over telephone lines by big brothers: little boys
become upset. I want to cross my “t”s with a northeast slash and forget
about girls and boys and how some believe handwriting differs between sexes:
oversized bubble letters, “i”s dotted with circles, loose swoopy curves,
your pediatrician’s chicken scratch, unreadable prescriptions, 2nd grade
Valentine cards from Donna sitting in the desk next to you—too many
Xs and Os for a six-year-old. You blush like a macho man
who shit his pants and walked home with diarrhea running down his legs.
“No, I’m fine, nothing’s wrong.” Anne, who usually takes her time
to get home, passes you and comments on how bad you smell.
She giggles and skips away like a crocodile coasting
toward a human hung from a parachute caught in a tree—
panicked feet kicking, skimming the water like little boys walking on their toes,
trying to beat big brother home, looking past blankies flapping in the breeze
like American flags unfurled at war time—the holes grew bigger every day.
He learned how to wash dirty underwear.