Notes From Above Ground

Ute's bed and flower beds are white.
Strawberries nipple in rows.
I drop one into my drink and it bobs
between ice. The heel of the glass marks
a full circle.

Blossom rings and prettier things painted
onto wood chalk the tongues
of my fingers.
A smudge has dried into a skin
of varnish; and a boar awaits orders.
His tusks are up and his eyes do not blink.
His hair is needles. I can't imagine anyone
having eaten his body.
- Where did you find him?
- He found me. She, too. Most of a Mother
of God is lost. Her left side is gone and
her mouth may as well have been carved
from butter or snow. She survived. The time
of the burnings.
She is almost a branch again.

A barrel is pissing upon nasturtiums.

When the sun is most carcinogenic, black

and brown bees fatten on fleshy flowers
as they do every year, as they did
in August, 1942, while my mother, who was
eleven years old in Milwaukee
and twenty years old in Auschwitz,
began to die in both places.

- Do you enjoy my garden?
- It reminds me of a Tarot reading.
- I like random. As one would find in more
primitive places--a little bit like we had in
Ute's toe nails sparkle, but she is not
as tête-à-tête as she had been in Morocco.
Half the sky is smoke
from Nadia's cigarette. Ash sticks to her
cropped copper hair. She is the scent
of our siesta, not the Mosel
nor the vineyards. We sip
Liebfraumilch, and I must witness her

- Why is this? My daughter will not listen
to the voice of her illness. She kicks at it and kicks
at it and kicks at it--

I am a house guest. How should I know?
Perhaps, she was a guard once.

Perhaps, she was the guard
who shaved my mother's head and crippled
her right leg.

Notes From Above Ground [#60]
© 1998 Fammerée

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Richard Fammerée

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