Lemonade stand

Our first summer in Dallas

In mid-afternoon heat

We had a lemonade stand


Put up signs

Squeezed lemons

Made sugar syrup

Followed a recipe

The lemonade was just right.


We sat on the lawn


Wondered where all the people were.

If a lemonade stand wouldn’t work

In this heat

With our signs by busy roads

(and free ice water!)

What hope was there?


We sweated.

The little boys were bright boiled pink

Collectively we acquired 40 new mosquito bites

Most of them on sweet Lenora


Finally two women from down the street

Walked over with their little dog

They bought lemonade with quarters

They stayed to chat

They let the little boys feed sticks to their dog.


They were so nice

We were able to write the whole thing off

As a success.

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Some days I wake

like a spring compressed

muscles itching


with electricity


Bolts of microscopic lightning


up       and down


tightly sheathed fibers


And when I am released

into the still                cold                 dark

there is a trail

of sparks

behind me


The chainsaw sits within reach

of where they play

in the shaded sandbox


They can see the levers

that they have seen their father pull

Smell the gas

recently funneled into the tank

from the dusty scarlet jug in the garage

Admire the round metal teeth

that will gnaw through a trunk

like a knife through summer butter


being this close

They can feel its draw

can almost feel how

with it in their hands

Their influence over the world around them

will be amplified

They can imagine what they will cut

how they will shape the world around them

and how easy it will be


possibilities radiate like X-rays

from this dormant machine

and the only thing

They cannot imagine

are any limitations


She sat neglected at the party

Hunched beneath a lawn chair

As people circled the barbeque

Swooping for charred meat

Sipping whiskey

No one even cared enough

To sink a knife into her flesh



She rolled around the house

Appearing in different rooms

Lurking in dark corners

Appearing underfoot in the dark

Strange hieroglyphs

Etched into her deep green skin


She was banished to the porch

When fear of rot set in

No one wanted to witness

The various humors

Leaking out across the wood floor


She was there

Sitting innocently enough

Witnessing the embarrassment

Of the naked trees

Their leaves below them in dry drifts


The urge came upon us, irrepressible

She was heavy

But not too heavy

Our knees bent, arms taut with elastic energy

She traced a beautiful arc

Landing with a satisfying wet smack

A supernova of pulp

On the concrete path

The path

The path has

No mountain views

No meandering creek

To quench your hot thoughts

Not a single tree

Leaning over

To cast its protecting shade


Just a long strip of grass

Drab and brittle

Comb-over grass


But from the grass

Rise steel pillars

Studded with bolts like fists

So massive in scale

They render everything below



Their metal arms

Extend gracefully

Delicately bent at the wrists

Clutching swooping arcs

Of power lines

They march into the distance

Holding up petticoats

Against the mess below

Memento mori

A line of small red sweaters

staring obediently

As an ancient lady with

rust-colored cotton-candy hair

and a dark blue cardigan


shrunk down to almost

their own height

details the life of St. Ursula

whose bust is before them

eyes slanted down

eyelids heavy

clothing and ornaments

gold dusted


there is a gaping hole

between her breasts

perhaps where the fatal arrow struck

though this

the lady

doesn’t allude to it

as she details

Ursula’s crusade of virgins

and how they were slaughtered


If they let their eyes drift

there is St. Paul the hermit


eyes bulging from sunken sockets

holding a skull

with dark caverns for eyes

and the lower jaw missing


not far is St. Sebastian

his pale perfect body

riddled with arrows


face blue and gaunt in death

held by his mother

in sorrow and adoration


The children ask gentle questions

Is the gold real?

Is there a bathroom here?


the deeper questions

are only just beginning

to shape themselves

the leviathan coiling

taking shape

in the darkest waters

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