In addition to mailing Christmas boxes and picking up my son at the bus station, I'll be copyediting Teresa Carson's forthcoming collection My Crooked House, which CavanKerry is releasing this spring. I'm pretty happy to think that we both have books coming out this spring, and I'm pretty happy to be reading these poems, which manage to be both elegantly constructed and brutal, not to mention dramatically precise. As in:
Me and Mom, 1961
It’s her room, Yes, my room,
not mine. not yours.
Her girly-pink walls, her jumble of junk, The only space that’s mine, all mine.
her dirty sheers. Don’t tell a soul.
There’s no drawer My bureau,
for me. not yours.
I dig through a clump of underpants Why bother separating ours?
to find a pair of mine. Stop wanting more.
My uniform’s thrown on the chair, This closet, those hangers, mine,
topped by her girdle and slip. not yours.
The lit Virgin Mary centered on sill. Blessed art thou . . .
Polish can’t save my saddle shoes. Don’t press your luck.
Every night, when she goes to bed, I’m tired,
I must go, too. you must be, too.
Even if I’m reading (Yawn.)
or playing tic-tac-toe or . . . Stop what you’re doing.
My mother’s fat, My comfort matters most,
good thing I’m small. not yours.
Just one wool army blanket (Lifts arm in invitation.)
to cover two. No pillows. Don’t think you’re better than me.
I press between her arm and breast. This is the way it always was.
What’s that noise? And that? This is the way it always should be.
I inhabit nightmares. Always will be.
Her unwashed female stink takes over me. Stop making up tall tales.
I can’t breathe. Mine,
No room to move. not yours.
Where else could I go? Yes.
Who else would hold me? Mine alone.
Don’t want to. Everybody knowsIt’s all I’ve ever known. you’re mine.
[The righthand column is supposed to be flush-left all the way down, but stupid Blogger loves to mess with poetry formatting and I can't seem to fix it. You'll have to wait till spring to see this poem in its true glory.]