was a cowboy. My father was a sugar man. My father was a teamster. My father was a Siberian tiger; a corsair; a lamb, a yellow dog, a horse's ass. My father had a triple bi-pass. My father was a rat but he bought me my first hat. My father believed in decency and fair play. My father drove the getaway. My father was a blue jay. My father drove the boys away. My father drove a Thunderbird, a Skylark, a Firebird, an old pickup truck with a rusty tool box, a Skybird, a Sunray. My father drove hard bargains ever day; he was a force. My father was mercurial. He was passive, a little moody: rock... paper... scissors. He loved me. He loved me not. He stomps and hurls lightning bolts. Has slipped away. Passed away. My father was passé. My father was a Texas Ranger. Taught me to pray. Because of him, I hoard things in an old shoe box. Because of him, I use botox. Because of him, I look to clocks. Because of my father, I know how to oil the gate; don’t own a map. Because of my father, I have no use for similes. Because of my father, I hunger for my own catalog of metaphors. (for Doris Schnabel)
Ancient kites, found in deserts
of the Middle East, are constructions
aimed at driving and trapping
game animals. They consist
of long dry stone walls
converging on a neck
which opens into a confined space
used as the killing floor.
The last night, unknowingly
I lovingly effervesced the long catalog
of my admirations for you into
your ear. Hammer strike
anvil. The last morning,
I studied you sitting
quietly studying the water
in the toilet bowl. I brushed
your hair. Gave you a kiss.
Told you, “I love you.” Minutes later,
we walked outside our door the final time,
rode the elevator down together. Crossed
the lobby and vestibule, out the front door
onto the wide sidewalk of our building.
All the while, unaware of the drive.
Your last moments under a bluebird sky.
Your last moment standing
at the end of the fatal kite.