This is before electricity. The calm, cool end-of-summer winds
waft through screened windows of yellow kitchens. Dusty shoes
left in the foyers of plantation houses leave
their mustang aroma. Lightning bugs dart in full frenzy
hope for a chance with kerosene lamps they lust over.
The house falls asleep to masturbating crickets. Cows,
on their bellies, predict rain. It’s like Mars, in a greenhouse,
during the Industrial revolution.
This is July.
Mosquitos attracted to the sweet smell of freckled arms. Calamine lotion
has not yet been invented. It will be the third day of rain;
bodies rush through towns like bloated floaters in the pool.
Couples linger under sheets and sweat.
It bakes their worn ankles and thundered thighs.
This rain will kill your brother.
It will leave your mother hysterical, leaning over a balcony.
Fathers will be stuck in mills to wait out the night. In their dreams,
they will curse Mother Nature: she makes love like a hurricane;
one eye open. Wives lie in beds alone, listening to drop, drop, drop.
This is what it feels like to be lonely.
The wind is not calm, or cool, it is not the end of summer.
Flowers burst from wombs of green, beginning their own revolution.
They gossip until one is picked.
Now, they’re silent.
This is what you missed while sleeping.
I can hear ringing
of church bells
in suburban bicycles.
Echoes, of God’s yellow hand
Permanent tattoos of
in heads of young Catholic girls
(wistful as me).
Hands clammy with everyday worry.
Boys, lonely as a finger.
it’s hard enough
abandoned by first love.
Laid over a bed
like a work shirt,
drunken friends downstairs.
taught all of us
virginity is more righteous
It sits on a throne
higher than homosexual monogamy;
the safe place
one man’s heart
can put another’s.
But we’re all touch,
all feelings like sweat.
We sit here,
trying to save ourselves
in the silent sack
of the present.
Letting “Hail Mary’s”
surface through each pore.
Poem for a Pedophile
For the courageous Jess
This is for all the cats
you stroked down the back
wishing your fingers
were rubbing ribs of school girls.
For the 12-year olds
walking into living rooms,
towels around their waists and heads,
light fairy hairs
sticking at the nape of their necks.
For the hard-on
in your jeans
while their mother eats
in the loveseat next to you.
For the spots of blood
on her Fruit-of-the-Loom
underwear, the first time.
Afterwards, the smell of your
fingers like baby powder.
For the few nights they sleep
in Barbie pink sheets.
Before they even wonder
what it will be like to kiss
a boy, you watch them.
Praying at night that
nothing will give them courage
to even whisper what you’ve done.