Ann Arbor Review
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Silver Grey Fox
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My impaired heart that raced unrepaired for years.
The Lladro peasant girl holding the piglet that I kept
knocking off the shelf until I broke the two apart.
Is the break of a thing the only way to heal it?
Healed, my weak ankle that snapped in the grassy hole
when I was taking the trash to the curb after dark;
the ceramic pig sculpted by artist Marcia Polenberg
sold at a discount because of its recast ankle. Healed
the boy who called the policeman chasing him Pig
as he raced his dad's motorcycle through side streets,
the people that weren't hurt, thank God, I say that
even though I don't know God. I do know the boy.
The secret of gayness that locked my brother behind
stained doors where the only voice besides his own
belonged to a cuckoo in an imposing grandfather clock
calling out lost time. He never heard it, he said. Healed
my granddaughter's arm split open on a rock
by a girl who learned karate from Miss Piggy.
The face of the autistic boy who ran after midnight
and tripped over the deer carcass at the corner.
Healed, the pig whose pink heart valves saved a friend.
The friend. Healed, my blocked heart broken open
in time to see the spaces between my mother and me
that had widened for years fill with light.
"If you want to go on the 9th grade trip,
you have to pay for all of it," my dad says.
I get a job after school folding fiberglass drapes--
glass splinters stick in my skin, give me hives.
I quit, am hired by Patricia Stevens' Modeling
in downtown Detroit to sell new mothers
a modeling program. The mothers I phone
cry like their babies, say NO, NO, No.
I ride a belching diesel bus an hour each way.
Men leap from alleys, pool halls, wait at the bus stop
for this noon-model girl with the wild imagination.
They don't know I have three brothers.
Younger, college-bound. I'm bound to work,
bound to seduce an educated husband to support me.
I haven't met Betty Friedan or Gloria Steinem yet,
haven't seen Jack Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy killed,
Lee Harvey Oswald shot by Jack Ruby on TV,
Martin Luther King shot dead on a Memphis balcony.
Haven't met my next door neighbor who has five kids
to my three. She comes over each morning
with a cup of coffee laced with cheap scotch.
We have a beer for lunch while we feed the kids PB&J.
About 4 in the afternoon, she mixes a vodka martini,
no olives, talks about being the model wife
so her husband can hold his head up,
hiding her addiction as she burns dinner each night.
I look at my daughters, build a fire inside,
a slow insidious bon-bon blaze of charred shame,
curtsying servitude, marshmallow intellect.
I add carrots, liver, heart, all the chipped faces
of the china dolls I sparked along the sidewalk
when I was a young daughter. I add my new watch,
know what time it is, wish I could shift into reverse,
back my husband's dark blue '61 open Lincoln convertible
all the way into the old dining room,
sit at my Mom and Dad's table, shout, NO, NO, NO,
throw the pent-up anger of the 50s and 60s
in my raging fire, so the world would not have to see
the blood on the pink suit of Jackie, the good wife,
as she holds up her husband's exploded hear
in that dark blue '61 open Lincoln convertible,
the American Classic assassination car, so like my own.
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