His mustache trickles years in her lap
and polishes her palms in nails;
she straps his wooden leg to curtain tables
and loads his rifle with tears.
Bullets crouch in his eyes.
He sips his tea steaming with gasping fish
(goldfish, minnows, sharks)
and smoke leaps off chimneys
masquerading as clouds.
Her apron is the medicine chest
swallowed by his first born.
Infants suckle turpentine.
His boots saw her knees and hair her chest.
Sailboats quicker his back propelled
by boys carrying grenades and eating raisins.
The raisins explode in their heads.
I am not afraid.
His walk is farm roads and clear skies
where cigarettes grow with the grass.
They provide their own suns.
He hates the taste of paper.
When he embraced her he saw the black eyes
and ran his fingers over them. Blisters.
“Do you always wear your dresses bare and your bones thin?”
Even when she was pregnant his hand was larger
than her stomach. “Take me. And this child.”
When he flowed her hair, a toddler’s boots stirred
his chest. “Daddy will teach me to walk.”
The moon spilled in their faces. It’s always light.
The colors number on their chests.
They stand in rock formation.
The whispers. “Ricky found a girl.” The night
pockets their arms and their thighs.
Rifles staked the fences in hollow feet,
Richard. Rifles ground their stomachs clean.
“It’ll never be me.”
And the girl tumbled from his side in stones.
Robin Dawn Hudechek
(First published in Caliban. My first published poem!)