Poetry: Gregorio Ames


The Ears of My Toes

This morning, my deaf brother
Pokes me on the shoulder.
When I wake he mouths:

The room is filled
With the scent of baking bread
And the slant of morning light
Scraping through the open window.

Outside the window, a man
Jack-hammers the sidewalk.
Inside the bread, cumin
And roasted green chilies
Harmonize like the Tao.

Last night, after my brother arrived,
Thunder shook the house like a gong
And rain played timpani on the roof;

My brother stood grinning
Eyes shut, fingers splayed
Daddy Long-legs style
Along the wall.

How could I have drifted off to sleep?

And now, in the morning light
My naked feet—
Cool against the knotted grain
Of the plank floor—
Listen as the jack-hammer’s music
Floods into the ears
Of my toes.

Death Stairs into the Fridge

There used a to be a little cupboard
Where I kept my death
It stayed there for years
Between the Maalox
And a box of stale crackers

One day
While reaching for a flannel shirt
In the bedroom closet
There he was on the top shelf
Peering down at me

It went on like that for decades
Always there
As I was dreaming
Behind the shut door
Nuzzling unworn sweaters
And smelling of mothballs

He climbed down from the shelf
And settled into the couch
Before the picture window
Staring out at the barn
Where my childhood bicycle reposes
Vines winding clockwise
Round its rusting spokes

Evenings I sit beside him
Passing popcorn and beer

But this morning
While sipping coffee
In the kitchen
There he is

Staring into the fridge
Thrumming his lip
And tapping his foot

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