28 July 2008

lori williams


She wants to rip her tongue out
slowly, with pliers or maybe
a sharp knife from her kitchen set,
slicing down the layers to the first one,
before the unforgivable--

the skin of pink that licked
her father's dick with eye's closed,
wishing she were somewhere else
but she was there and that night
a seed of future fear sown

in her womb, vodka-drenched
and salty. She tried to make it work
with yellow and teal borders that she did
herself. She scrubbed her stomach in the bath
and hoped for a girl, olive like her,

nothing hanging between joy and despair. A boy
is what she had, but she loved him, kissed his penis
with open eyes -- he was hers.
The tongue of seventeen years ago has withered
and there is no plumping of it, he's gone away

and she is left with knives and pliers,
a flat mother's tongue,
wishes of death for dads and moms
and olive skinned children.
Forgive her.

old man on the R train at 5 pm

Stars rush from his mouth as he sings,
his breath is the beach I knew, when pails

were full of possibility -- a penny or a pop-top.
He sings the 60's songs, cane taps along

to the pole, and my simple dollar is scrunched
into his paper cup, as if

it's enough. I could thank him
for those moments he brought back;

of dad with his yellow cab full of sand and shells
and mom, with her fear of water, humming

as her girls swam out too far. But when he says
bless you, for that dirty dollar,

my throat is full of salt,
envying his stars.

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