INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
Karyn M. Bruce
A. J. Huffman
Paul B. Roth
Jennifer Burd &
Ann Arbor Review
is an independent
International Journal & ezine
Copyright (c) 2013
Silver Grey Fox
All rights revert back to each poet.
--editor / Southeastern Florida
Silver Grey Fox
BRISTOL LAKE, 1958
When I was ten, my father bought a cabin in Barry
off M37, where he tried to sell metal rowboats.
Inside, the caved-in roof plunged through cobwebs
strung out like party streamers. Pieces of china dishes
lay on the dingy linoleum floor like a mahjong puzzle,
and remnants of mice crunched under our feet.
My mother went back to the car.
(On future visits, she found a drinking partner
and spent the hours away from us, refusing to clean the cabin.)
But I followed my father down to the lake
and watched him set up the boats.
We came back each month. They were only day trips,
nothing like the real summer vacations all my friends had.
But the lake was deep and dark and beckoning.
It was on this lake that my father taught me
how to commandeer a rowboat with a motor attached to the back.
It was there that I saw my first trout, in fact, hundreds
glimmering in a hidden inlet so close to the surface
I could almost touch them,
unafraid of the shadows we wove through still water.
And at this lake, my father taught me how to fish.
I'd lay on my stomach, and lean over the side of the dock,
mindful of splinters and rotted wood,
to drop a fishing line into the see-through water below,
cheese balls wrapped around the hook,
where bluegills scooted in the green water weeds,
wiggling away from my longing to catch them.
The cabin, never repaired, was sold years later
and the row boats lined our chain-link backyard fence.
When no one was looking I used to crawl up inside of the them
and make believe we were out on the lake again,
he and I, listening to the jazzy rhythm of the water
lapping against the sides of the boat drifting,
drifting into the frayed edges of a yellow afternoon
where pipe dreams live in the songs of fish and fathers.
WHAT SUMMER PAINTS US
It was a short, dirt road. In the summer
dry, brown air filled our lungs as we played
cowboys and Indians or dared each other
to swing the highest or jump out splayed
and sprawled up and over the afternoon sun.
We would climb the apple tree, or play baseball
in the field, hide-and-seek until someone
made it "home." We'd play dress-up with our dolls
or we'd hide next to the road and throw stones.
Down this road, we learned to skate, ride bikes, bring
our dimes to the lady who made ice cream cones.
To growing up innocent on country streets!
Summer's dirt-caked paintings were so Magritte!
I WAS YOUR ONLY SUSIE
I had blinky eyes & soft, pink rubber skin.
My hair was curly & brown
& I said "Mama"
when you touched my body.
We spent hours together every day.
Dress-up pagents in your mother's worn-out clothes
& tea parties
& reading stories under the covers
& late night secrets when you were afraid of the dark.
Little girl stuff. Because that's what we were
& you loved me.
That awful day when your smelly, drooly mangy mutt
stole me from the room
& ran all over the neighborhood
with me in his teeth.
You screamed & cried & couldn't stop him
from ripping off my hair.
You found it later in the neighbor's yard
gnarly & clumped up into knots.
It never stuck to the top of my head again.
But you never called me ugly.
You wrapped my soft rubber arms & dimpled legs
in thin, white adhesive tape
month after month
until the tape became
my arms & legs
& my fingertips & toes no longer protruded.
I was the only possession that no one tried to take from you.
No one wanted to give me away to someone else's child.
I loved you, little girl,
with the heart you gave me
& the songs you sang to me every night.
You cried the day you put me in a shoe box
& wrapped me in my pink-stripped blanket
& set me neatly in the fire.
All the other dollies went to the Good Will
but you knew no one would want me
no one would love me all bandaged & bald
my eyes clouded by twenty years of openness.
someone would just throw me away
in a heap of discarded, unwanted trash.
So you let me go where no one would ever hurt me
& you stayed with me until the cinders were silent
& you could walk away, knowing I'd be safe.
I was your only Susie.
We were friends, you & I.
I loved you, my only little girl,
Karyn M. Bruce, Biscayne Park, Florida