The Innisfree Poetry Journal

by Tiffanie Desmangles

Best Friend, Fourth Grade 

I dreamt about you and how we took

samples of imitation crab and pudding pops

from the uniformed ladies at Kroger, how we ran past

the registers and through the sliding glass

to jump on the bus, as if getting

away with something big. 

When we came to our stop in the trailer park,

I told the popular kids that my baby-sitter

lived here, instead of me, and thankfully,

you did not say a word.  And I remember the day

we ignored the No Swimming sign

and climbed over the fence to the clay pit,

where you told me your secret:

how your mother drove to the river and put a gun

to her head, while you lay at home in your crib,

next to your brother's bed, covered

with the garbage bag of new clothes,

that she had bought to replace her

in the school days to come. 

I remember your dark blue eyes

in the recounting that was never fully yours,

as it seemed to come from someone older. 

How cool and unflinching they were, whose depths

are unknown, like the clay pit

filled with sinkholes and caverns,

where only a bubble or two rises

to remind one of what is buried below.

Now I think we were those bubbles,

but blown in the air and coalescing,

glinting barely long enough

to be caught by the eye, my dear friend,

whom I had almost forgotten.    


Pavarotti For My Son

Our habits are eating us. Like this a bowl of Bavarian Raspberry

Chocolate Chunk ice cream

we ate until only the spoon was left. Yet, nothing was tasted.

So TV off.  Shoes off. 

Pavarotti on.  Hold tight because we're gonna spin fast around the chair,

slow around the couch

to “La Donna è Mobile,” and though your nose is crusted in snot now,

it remains perfect. 

From our spun center, the wall is blurred by the lamplight swirling

into a painted sunset

cast upon waters trembling cerulean and amber. Burst and spin

until the beating pulse is the body,

and we fall dizzy to the floor.  Now watch the ceiling whirl like clouds

trickling from soft flakes to stillness.  

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