The Innisfree Poetry Journal

by Laurie Lamon


People were climbing trees to get to the trees
inside the embassy walls.

I stacked white bread on a plate.
The forks and knives would outlive us.

Helicopters and gunfire.
Children were bound to parents with belts of cotton.

It was her birthday and I watched my mother
lift stockings from a flat white box.

On the T.V. women looked like children.
Their hats had slipped and hung by long strings.

Helicopters came and left. Black and white
on the screen was ash, was the sound of blades

pounding air, pounding cries and voices.
Our father lit candles and brought in the cake.

When she blew out the candles the air was pitched
with smoke trails faint as our children’s breath;

we passed the plates with no knowledge
yet of nations, of borders that lock like an outside door,

we who think we are born without enemy.
We were all a year older. We waited in the dark to sing.

Lines for the Hand

Don was telling a story about
his grandmother
who scrubbed her kitchen floor
every night on her knees—
he left and returned
from the attic with a handful
of pot scrubbers like doll
sized ballet skirts.

In class today after reading
“Finding A Long Gray Hair,”       
I asked, whose was it,
floating like a letter in the pail?

My father built more
than one kitchen measured
for my mother’s height, her hands,
calculating space and motion.
She made them hives of noise,
opening doors, slamming them shut.

What comes of longing
for a dead wife, or a mother
who would touch you
for fever, who broke window glass
when he locked the garage door,
who took him dinner when he worked
in the dark under lights nailing
a roof as though home could
be a man crouched in winter rain.

Copyright 2006-2012 by Cook Communication