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Why I Will Not Wear the Red Ribbon at Your Grave

R.M. Vaughan
From:   Invisible To Predators. ECW Press, Fall 1999.

a pride of half size cars, shrunken from rain, makes squares over green
abused lawn cover - so orderly, and weighted with rebuke    with black
circles of felt on blazered arms    flowers, meant to last food for after
    awful metal gift boxes stuffed with tricky presents, secret codes
in card form - a generous press of gold, dented fonts spelling
     my faults, my invaded biology    and this attention to parking bylaws,
this courtly hand to glove among drivers    only reminds me hysteria
while bearing pall is like human rights in movie houses
        it is every citizen's privilege to shut up

underfoot, the ground begs off our little poems about Circles of Life -
earth keeps what it takes and I sense    in its little pressures, the aggressive
baby steps back to shape after mucky stumbles
    greed    and pleasure    (do not fall do not give it the Chaplin moment
of down at heart and heels do not bend)

to say    I know you end here, I know what soil needs    is to announce
madness and doctors are never far from funerals

sleep, kind friends suggest     when the whole problem is closed eyes
and hassock pillows    shiny under waning skin

because a pinpoint of ripe blood    widened, heaven opens and
I am not here kissing you, because a violent star
spiny as pollen and smaller    made a nest    I am not discovering the hot
brush hair at the seam of your balls    with my tongue, I mouth thanks
for hotter tea and remember    a paper cut of plasma swiped
the white insides between us cherry     beyond bleach     and I cannot run
home and expect your strict hands to tighten me again    so
this, finally, is Family    loose and bloody, easy with death

what we call dirt is really stones, rubbed to atoms, and left over tangles
of plants, softened by beetles    and forgotten teenage clothes, thrown
from cars    and spit, posters, last summer's charcoal    plus decades of rain
   soil is information, bitter to the lips

R.M. Vaughan's works copyright © to the author.

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