True Confessions Variations

(The Homemaker of the Month)

Original Text: 
Miss Pamela’s Mercy (Toronto: Coach House Press, 1992): 121-23.
2blonde bean, and slides his moustache across my
3neck. he's dark, and like I imagine his country,
4flat and arid, face a painted clay pot drying
5on the windowsill, on his lip, trails a snake
6with black twisted rattles. he asks me about
7my youth, and I tell him like the others, that
8they said I would never amount to anything. be
9cause of my size mostly, that I was a big American
10girl. raw and wide I sent away from catalogues,
11for plastic barrettes shaped like musical notes, and
12Cuban heeled shoes. I was dreamy too, and once
13painted my naked body like a guitar, with metal
14frets and silver strings. he caught lizards and
15tamed them, and saw an orange blister ripped sun.
16its aurora looked liked yellow music, and his eyes
17narrow as he plucks it from my stomach.
18I had Matthew from the first marriage, when I
19was sixteen. we would huddle in a striped mattress
20that was split in the seams, and I thought of
21my husband as a cowboy, when his leather face
22creased and stretched. in college I later learned
23about kings, and ancient gods who sent their love
24in showers of coins, golden, manna from heaven.
25and I never talk about my first man, except to
26say that he laid my head open and the scar-line
27is his illegible signature. my son is more like
28an immaculate conception, like my adopted girls
29whose teeth and pupils are shaped like a stranger.
30we ride to the lake and crush bread for the birds.
31I like the geese with their masks and giraffe
32necks. sometimes they hiss and you'd swear they
33had a row of devil fangs under their poniard tongues.
34but especially the swans, I can't help but think
35of them plucked and fleshy turning white and velvet,
36like my husband pulling his hands through my henna
37hair.
38Ysidro is a groundskeeper and gravedigger. sometimes
39we joke about dead business or a certain shift, and
40we laughed about the recipe I have included;
41Mexican Chicken Bake, we said: cremate a handful
42of skinny bones, and sprinkle lightly over the
43dinner table. but it's peaceful work, and he rests
44by the tombs, and weeds the paupers' wooden crosses.
45and tells them about the weather, and here in
47nights when he walks with sleeping Iowa, and my
48imagination can turn black. I think of sewing
49him a pole-bag, with cobra skin and vegetable
50powder. with fathers and half shells. so he
51can speak melodic incantations and command a blood-
52less multitude. scary corpses turn to me, their
53eye sockets contracting in the light.
54we feed the birds and cook a chicken. in a taco
55shell it's perfect, spicy and delicious, like my
56sweet Spanish lover's touch.

Notes

1] meeya carra: my beloved. Back to Line
46] Oskaloosa: small city in Iowa, USA. Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2004
Special Copyright: 

<b>This poem cannot be published anywhere without the written consent of Lynn Crosbie or the Coach House Press permissions department.</b>