Use What We Have, Says Didion

I have my mother’s fur coat, its shield against

the cold fire of eyes, a sable stare in regret

 

I have the jolt of my daughter’s screams as

I force her into a hot pink top, her slick searching

fingers questioning the covers

 

I have walking in – my son’s pants around his ankles –

the bright laughs that followed my shutting the door,

as he declares it “not as bad as he thought,”

his shrug as full as his embrace

 

I have my child’s defiant loyalties, searching telephone books

for lost fathers; his lame walk on a wire between womb,

and stem, and air

 

I have sisters who churn up and down – while I curdle

to a muddy green – and shoot me from silent cannons,

giggling mindless at refrigerator doors

 

I have his forehead, the agonizing pause between years,

when I am disassembled in time, unmoving pieces of clocks

waiting for night, to start ticking

 

I have empty pews, friends forgetting to have ears, cloying for

hymnals – their lipstick, their wigs, their lunches, too small –

too many letters without bindings

 

I have Ferris wheels delivering broken vows, the horror of horse

heads bobbing up and down on sticks we are meant to ride,

waving with each circle

 

I have his boxing ring analogy, Avitene to bind a wound he cut,

a letter too late – his kiss on a park bench, too wet, too open

as I held on too tight to the seat cushion

 

I have synaptic tendrils in glass cases, wired speakers for coffins

I have 60-inch TV sets, and to-do lists chained with acid strings

I have tacky readings bleeping from chords – too high, too high

 

I have cigarettes on the back porch, in the dark, circling drains;

nights pleading naked in tepees with ghosts

 

I have leaves falling beyond the pane, god’s moon-eye

through the window feigning ignorance,

the chorus yips of coyotes calling each other

by name

 

I have a glass bottle of ash, a white t-shirt marked

May 1980, black block-letters

commemorating eruption

 

I have a mirror straining, full with eyes,

voices in front of me,

voices behind me

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