Summer 2009 - THE POTOMAC

Two Poems
   Grace Cavalieri

Tall Blonde Guy with a Sweater

There was a smell of smoke by my bed explained by a man sent
in behalf of the dead,
I said I was not ready yet - moving gamely
wide of his arc - He left and plucked a black soldier from Arkansas
on guard in Bagdad … chosen with questionable relevance…
Yet I sent him back where he brought the shoe of this Hispanic from Texas doing
Afghanistan duty, and then left to kill off a Jew from Brooklyn near the tents in Iraq.
Our fathers are in charge of war and death. It is not the natural temperament of women…
I shouted after him… I’d rather cook. This is not my worry, all this blood ,
and even if I decide to go how will that help the Chinese kid next door who’s leaving?
Tall Blonde Guy, what do you want me to give?
It’s turning dark and soon it will be night, and prayer
sounds like a crow flapping over the corpses just to create sound, and I am one
small person camouflaged in grief disguised as myself who could not even save
a wren eating a poison maggot if I tried before I died.

The Tall Blonde Guy wrapped me in his sweater and held me close

Revenge Sentiments in Forgiving the Past

In the old people’s orphanage, I was
doing alright until I found
a cubby of papers,
my daughter’s spiral notebook,
she was held captive,
her name marked across the lines.
I begged the doctor to listen
but like the man in the moon
every time I talked he turned to cheese .
He put his foot on my leg
wrestling me to the floor-
I flailed against him, biting and clawing,
finally nailing it -
that’s why he had lipstick
on his fly.
The clouds settled down and
after a harrowing time I found my purse.
I left some crumbs for the birds
and a mean note to your Mother
for letting you sit
outside naked drinking
whiskey, but don’t think
I didn’t have some fun here, especially
during those bursts of shoplifting at Loveland.

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