Judith Roney

 
 

WHEN I AM NINE 

One had loved and she had forgotten things. One had lived in a room and loved nothing.
—Charles Fort, “One Had Lived in a Room and Loved Nothing”

They told me the trees were almost bare at daybreak
that my mother wasn’t doing well
I wrote in rainwater: “Bare branches are like fingers of the blind”

Decades ago at the hospice I looked on my uncle’s yellowed face
He didn’t look the lecher anymore. He never said I’m sorry
They told me the trees were almost bare at daybreak

The city was a wind of brown leaves and full of snow
All my people buried there between train-tracks, ice and sky
I wrote in rainwater: “Bare branches are like fingers of the blind”

They told me the trees were almost bare at daybreak
A blue door opens in the wilderness
where trees bend with winter’s wind

A forest suffers under sunlight if storms fail to pass
Birds arrive each night in branches, a daughter shuts the door
I wrote in rainwater: “Bare branches are like fingers of the blind”

Something came in on the wind through my window
returning white sprouting wings and opened wide my door
I wrote in rainwater: “Bare branches are like fingers of the blind”
They told me Mother’s trees were almost bare at daybreak

 

THAT BULLSHIT LINE, BONE OF MY BONES 

Florida divorce court is hell & all I want is the remote
& a twelve-pack of Coors.

All was fine until He decided I needed a wife.
Worse than my mother’s nagging:

You need a helpmate, a good woman.
Someone to wash & press your fig’s leaf.

I was fine. Really I was. I had ten pigs,
five lambs & more chickens than Eden has trees,

a ’96 Chevy, shed full of tools, Netflix, subscriptions
to Hustler & Penthouse, & the pantry was stocked

with home-grown Doobie Bird Daydreams.
He said she would be a blessing, a gift—

but the woman’s been a pain in the
ribs, if you get my pun-drift.

Did you put the toilet seat down? Did you put your dirties in the laundry?
You didn’t leave the mayonnaise out again, did you? And Adam, you ass,
the trash goes up on Mondays, recycling on Friday!

If it weren’t for my boys, I’d have packed the truck
a decade ago and headed to Vegas alone.

               The garden’s grown over, Cain’s always jealous of Abel,
& Eve’s addicted to shopping. Snakes ate the chicklings

last spring. Been laid off since the house market crashed—
who wants to hire a hack carpenter,

a namer-of-things? Who wants the right-wing neighbor’s
blame for blight, white-flight, death & taxes?

So when He foreclosed on our home it was no surprise—
Eve took the boys, but I have the dog & left His plotted-out paradise.

               Last week when a pair of skirts came to the door
asking if I knew Heaven was real & the reason—

I said Sure do, Denver’s a mile higher
than Tampa, and Florida’s no Garden of Eden.

 
 

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