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.