Intrepid are the little hands
That claw and scratch and flail
And ply the contours of my chest
With each sharp little nail
Once dropped twice on toilet floor
I thought of my mouth and wondered (with a taste of blood)
Could I have you?
In toilet too light?
Behind shelves not quite?
And you would be quiet and pressing, thin and strong
Ahh – but balding still, I fear
Wear a hat, perhaps?
Under the house we made a carapace
A chink in a pile of old clothes.
Do you remember the powder-blue shirt I borrowed? Its smocking was worn and frayed.
Or soft cream cheesecloth top with the tassels?
In our cave you would cover our heads and whisper words backwards
And I would covet the rainbow of nail polish in your mother’s fridge
Later when we danced you changed the words to the songs
Our tartan skirts matched
But you knew more than me
You could read the patterns moving behind the lace curtains
The looks in the dairy isle
The muffled sounds from your mother’s room.
There’s a tree inside now
And the grassy cheer that once echoed about the walls has stopped.
This house knows no sport—yet still I don’t know where to sit, or what to do
State of what?