I bought a kite once at Murphy’s,
a diamond with a ponytail
like that girl in fourth grade.
In a park with grass the color of her eyes,
the kite climbed, hiding the sun
until the string broke.
I forget her name, but I remember
holding the sky in my hands.
Next to the funeral home, the 8th Street Tavern
served Schlitz on tap. Pale blue neon flashed
and hummed as I sat next to Uncle Cyril
who bought me a Coke. After his shot and beer,
we returned to the parlor where he pointed
at his dead mother and said,
Everyone takes their turn.
In seventh grade I fell in love,
with a girl two doors down,
her hair dark as licorice.
When she walked to school I followed
behind her like a frightened shadow.
One day she turned around,
and I transformed into a pillar of salt.
4. Earth Sciences
The night before going river fishing,
I prospected for worms in the back yard.
One did not cooperate, tearing in half,
both ends wriggling like fish on sand,
out of their element, desperate.
My mother’s arm, a pendulum
gone made, the paddle in her hand
without mercy, accurate
as Scripture verses memorized,
something about spoilage.