A boy a son a girl a daughter
should never be left alone I know
because I did and will forever
be rearranging the blocks the links
the dark factivities of those realities.
Muddled in troubles the flames dim
in that oven we kept them in
taking them out for daily and nightly
games of pretending it was according
to a perfectly well-tested recipe.
The walking out the door-slammed return
the calling in the middle of nervous nights
by a mother-in-law with bladed tongue
and serrated sense of right and wrong
the pouncing of rats onto parakeets.
The boy the girl the son the daughter
seemed to thrive in spite of the tumult
like lilies in slowly running water
like clouds turning into hills of green
like babies becoming complexities.
The oldest one shuffled smiles and frowns
chasing Mau-mau or on my shoulders
less a princess more a clown
breathing resolution swallowing shadows
standing watch for eccentricities.
The younger one sat on laps not
clearly showing how he was growing
into some blue sky or into two knots
when I looked at him I clung to hope
he was spreading his vine of faculties.
I remember storms warm tropical
icy and violent and of a proportion
that pulled trees out by their roots
pulled teeth out with implements
in the grip of the temperment police.
What could she have said about it
moving not moving not standing still
what could he have done but sit it out
trained in rejection sipping sour soup
until walls fall around sibling psyches?
By high school braided reverberations
slow fast cyclical nearly biblical
sewed up some cuts opening others
tidally returning but nowhere to think
or swim but under all the isoceles.
I was gone by then left and having
left I was behind a childhood’s pale
length and breadth of curtain raving
not knowing what about them or me
whether a fix hid in smile or disease.
We are moot getting up in the morning
scrubbing dirty hands looking down drains
forgiving often our betraying miscarrying
dreams about helpless noises whispering
never leave behind boys girls please.