There must be something that can fix me,
you say, but in sixteen years nothing has. Lexapro, Oleptro,
Thiopropazate. Eighth grade, Hal Stoddard chased me
into the Rosewood Lane cul-de-sac by the butt end of his BB gun
yelling, C’mon piggypiggy, open up you whale,
while I recited every word that had ever made me want to stay alive:
supine, rocking chair, sherbet, mother, diphthong,
Halloween carnival, far-off longed-for spinsterdom. I don’t know what to say
that the grown folks you don’t listen to haven’t
already said. Celexa, Paxil, Luvox, not every day will suck. I’ve a pit bull
and a brick home and there comes an age people stop
minding you much, leave you well enough alone. Hal came back of course,
brandishing a bouquet of carnations, asked
could I play H-O-R-S-E in Ben Nixon’s driveway some four houses down.
Asked if I’d like to see John Lennon in concert
come summer. Of course I did. Lennon’s dead, he laughed, you stupid cunt,
and allowed that basketball to roll into the arms
of woods we, as smaller children, sometimes hid together in.
Who knows why I’m about to tell you this, that years
later just before the doctor opened me up to take what was no longer alive
out, last thing I saw before the drugs set in
was a poster of tulips in a Dutch paddock he kept taped to the ceiling.
Just after, though I was long grown, my mother drew
a warm bath, put me in it, fed me oysters and albariño in silence. Some things
fall away like a tilt of roadway to unearth twenty years
of soon-to-flower field just before you. I mean that. My mother let me
stutter the word oyster until I fell into a soft wing
of sleep. There are still entire minutes, Yasha, Yasha, I like to imagine,
had the baby lived, there would come some word
so loved by her she’d sometimes travel the earth by train or foot or tippy-toe
repeating it, just repeating it.