I remember what dead hands feel like
and they’re not worth holding
I remember when I asked you to smash my Fisher Price
push popper so I could get the gumballs out
even though I knew they weren’t really gum balls
You smashed it with your sledgehammer
Shirt off blonde hairy chest all lean and sweaty.
I remember how I liked to steal your
Smith Brother’s cough drops black licorice
and after that Luden’s Lemon from the glove box.
How your jaw clicked when you bit into an Almond Joy
or a Pecan Pie from the Village Store
we didn’t tell mom about the sweets.
I remember when Franny Bear got shot
came home leaking red pools
you examining her furry body and exclaimed
the bullet had gone clean through.
All those other dogs you straddled on the kitchen floor
pulling quills from whining snouts with
needle nose pliers.
And the stories you read, Wind in The Willows,
Frog and Toad, and Richard Scary
Personified animals hold you the most
You liked to get stoned and watch people
in their little cars and trucks
buzzing around quaint New England towns
imagining them as Richard Scary characters
Lowly Worm in his apple car
the Beagle policeman
you laughed with such abandon.
The Raptor on E.14th
There is a tower in East Oakland.
Down by Seminary on the hoe stroll,
that’s where he lives.
I’ve never seen him,
but I heard
from the heating and air conditioning guy
who works the building.
He hunts this wasted tundra
of coke smokers, winos,
Baby girls on colt legs wobbling by on stilettos
thick-assed mini-skirted vets holding up street corners.
Like the girls, the Great White Owl
uses the “sit and wait” style of hunting.
His penthouse home is high in the brick tower
above the low-standing blighted buildings
of the flat lands.
Above the taco trucks
and ice cream carts of the surenos.
He’s built a queen-bed size nest
surrounded by shit pellets and pigeon carcasses
like fried chicken bones outside The Fish King
a few blocks up.
I want to stalk this bird of prey
catch him in action
taloned king of the ghetto
he rules among scavengers
no one scraping up much more
than a welfare check
or a stolen flat screen
shea butter fingers
I don’t miss you at all
a lone wolf
I lean into new men
at parties tall bodies
a sharp knife I push
under tortoise shells
pry at tender spots
kiss strange lips
I’m pillowy in a size 14
a steak too big for the plate
Threw the plastic pill pack
in the trash
small enough to palm
locked me in a body without nerve endings
But oh baby
I’m here horny hormonal
fat and wiggly as a grub worm
in a frying pan
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