Friday, June 05, 2009

The Woman With Yellow Tulips,

who was not my mother, sat on the porch leafing through a tattered magazine,
Newsweek. She said something about polar bears and the news;
cut the faces out and paste them in her scrapbook.
She loved scrapbooks, and had dozens of them in
her bookcase upstairs, where the grandfather clock sat next to
the clock hands that do not turn clockwise. I wondered if it was broken.
The repairman said it was not, that it just liked to go that way on its
own accord like apples or oranges did sometimes.

The faded trunk from World War II rests at the head of the stairs,
gathering dust and mildew and who knows what else. It contains postcards
from Germany, Spain, and Nebraska, where my father was located
during the war. War is terrible.
The history teacher taught me
this, he has large lips and eyes like saucers. He still teaches at
the same school to this day, trying to teach his students about the Depression.
He hopes there will not be another one.

My dog, Mr. Parkins, barks outside, hoping to bond
with the squirrel chattering
in the trees.

The woman with yellow tulips speaks of corruption; of greed;
of self preservation. Her grandmother lived on an Indian reservation
in the thirties and saw harsh things. She did not remember the wolves.
Or the memo stuck on the refrigerator, reminding her to pick up the
tomatoes from the garden.

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