Last May Pole
That last May Day Festival something broke
with a slight, definite sound
like ice settling under hot sugared tea...
I was in the seventh grade
neither skinny nor fat
but self-conscious with my new breasts.
My friends, or my mother entered us
in the dancing contest.
Meek as worn-out water on my feet,
my tap shoes danced blue and flat
trailing through the studio
in whispers willful and evolving.
Courage sticking at each turn, I weaved
crepe ribbons about a painted pole.
When my friends trooped on the stage,
I stayed in the bleachers,
watched others dance in unison,
glad that I wasn't among them.
Behind, my mother was calling.
Ahead, just the vast expanse of me.
That surface touched, I won't go back.
Even an ebb tide finally turns.
That year I quit dancing lessons.
The Coloring Book
Over the flower cross
the cloud of incense spreads
expanding in many stages
like sperm in a woman.
How intent you were hunched
over the page with crayons!
Such lovely flowers, I said,
turning you in the sun
to open like a kaleidoscope.
Wrapped in thought, I close
the coloring book. Bent
in the shape of a cross
it is large enough
for the casket.