The sun rose above Mount San Jacinto, east of Lake Elsinore. Fog drifted across the cold water and Sarah sat shotgun in the red mini-van while two boys sat in the back, including her boyfriend, Brendan. I was unsure about this love affair because they …
Month: May 2014
I’d sing you a better lullaby, babygirl, if these chipped walls
cradled soft notes right. They sag and give, the way
Mama’s voice does when she tries to sing the doxology.
Church never held no cradle for me, but you know how
She grew up in choir robes and hymnal dust.
Sunday afternoons, Papa’d sigh over to the piano bench and
Drop his fingers into the slots for middle C. I used to believe
Gershwin was a snake-charmer, and when he and her soared
I swear no serpent could have held out
The first time I saw your daddy in Blues I laughed.
Couldn’t help it, wouldn’t help him – that cap sheared off
Whatever the barracks barber hadn’t. Babygirl, if a man
Don’t sing, don’t follow. His boots snapped over streets in
Okinawa, France, some burgh in Germany, but his socks
Don’t got time to lose their pairs in our hamper.
You know the beaches here hiss different. Funny how
Grey mornings make the sound of water
Sneaking into the cracks between crushed up rocks and shells
Important. Girl of mine, we’ll find you a song that clings to
Salty fog and slabs of ocean. Maybe he’ll hear it.
Alexandra Villamore is an undergraduate student at UC Riverside.
Is it lonely up here, mountain ghost? Perhaps the beauty makes up for it alone. Perfect symmetry, an ocean of green beneath the white powder snow. It’s famous up here, a painting off the coast of Kanagawa serving to show how beautiful loneliness can be. …
Silo number nine looked like the Tin Man’s head, bearded with the shed that bristles
The fog clung to the roof like a laurel, wreathed with six dollars more the next Friday.
Walking down the corn was a grown man’s job, and
Your brother’s thin ribs could use the padding. Yours too,
If you were careless enough to look down.
Hunched beneath the corrugated roof, nostrils stuffed up with the
Sweet stickiness of rotting corn crisped into milky sours,
You and your brother tossed picks by their worn handles into the sleeping mounds
Pitching them back to each other like boomerangs.
Grain shuddered, the silo groaned
The crusted patches beneath your feet
Ripped. Dropped you.
Shackled you to the triangled gridlock.
Your screams bounced off the sides of the silo
Gulped back by mechanical shushings of grain
Funneling into truck beds.
They didn’t tell you there were harnesses in the storage shed.
They didn’t tell you a body can drown in a solid.
They didn’t tell you how fast the mountain would swallow him.
You had to hug your brother’s body, or the rescue squad couldn’t jam
The grain tube around your shoulders. Couldn’t haul you out.
Six hours, and all you wanted was them to
Shove the plastic bucket over your head again so you couldn’t see
The pits in his face from kernels biting.
You’d think five hundred fifty thousand
Would be enough to pay for a headstone.
Hell, you’d think the two hundred grand would be enough for something
Better than those cockeyed red flowers you jabbed into his grave. Damn things
Flutter too much, thrash like his hand above the grain line.
He never got to make varsity.
At home your mother drags her fingers through popcorn kernels,
Listens to their dry rustle as they slip against each other.
Those men with soft hands tell you Haasbaech is closing,
Tell you that they’re educating workers, increasing safety awareness, and that they
Have mailed very strong letters.
Your mother’s room is littered with picket signs and sleeping pills.
You went to work the next week anyway.
Alexandra Villamore is an undergraduate at UC Riverside.