Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Grandmother's Tattoo 5

Facing west, there are aisles through gravestones.
Everywhere, the same thing, cottonwoods blazing yellow. 

A peacock sweeps the ground with his tail.
Hi-ho, he says, and flutters his fanny.

Maggie thinks this is a 3-D animation
or maybe the Pasty Lump Lady with more tricks.
His reedy voice is like a clarinet's. 

Maggie misses her grandmother's tattoo,
the only remnant that remains of her family,
her one connection stolen by a boy
with eyes the color of melting honey.

Or does she miss the boy?

I'm lost, she explains,
gestures toward the broken skateboard,
and I’m on foot.

The peacock extracts a long feather from his tail.

My gift to a girl,
guaranteed to get you wherever you need to go.

He swishes his feathers and disappears into the yellow cottonwoods.

Maggie waves the feather and hopes for magic.
Nothing doing.

She wants to return to a delta of square one,
to pop-up from the middle like a seed from a plum.

But the Pasty Lump Lady has stolen her hunger.

Even so, there’s more to Maggie than pancakes.

At the intersection of Sections I and M,
vines cling to trees like long lost relatives.

In another part of the graveyard,
the sun burns a hole in an apron and busts out.

Maggie draws warmth around her like a cashmere sweater.
She accidentally drops the skateboard to the ground. A chase.

In Section C, she finds the skateboard.
There’s a boy playing a fiddle, his face as white as a ruffled shirt.
The fingerboard has a ketchup label,
the fiddle, Norwegian Codfish.

He says his name is Bartholomew, Mew for short,
sees the feather,
and tells her he used to play softball with the peacock.
And you?

Maggie of the Misfit Foot. She tells him everything.
He not so much.

I rescue music from garbage heaps. That’s all,
and begins to walk away.

She wants him to stay, offers the skateboard as a sacrifice.
And like a man about to buy a new car, he considers--

Solid wood. Gold rims. No financing. Sweet.

He plays the fiddle until his music fills the grove with sunlight.

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