Hickory, dickory, dock-- it began of course in the nursery. Mouth so safe--the tucked in repetitions that would make a child smile, absurd words-- how I loved the non- sense. The mouse ran up the clock. Then, the clock struck one. The chemotherapy is working. Her hair has not yet fallen to the dried out ground--just thins. I sit and listen as she retells her life's stories--hear only the fragile rhythms. The notes expand then stick together. The accordion of her years fans then shrinks to a small space. The music and the place will remain here after conversation is over. I run Down there every afternoon to check the minute and the hour hands, the drum and the pendulum, the weight-- to reverse the escapement. The mouse ran down, the mouse ran up. She's trapped inside the ticking clock, and I flail against the break- proof glass, not able to get her out. As ridiculous as it sounds hickory, dickory, dock.
The Scarlet Ibis, Section VII
Bird Once, I got lost, flew over that place, saw the tourists in their wrinkled pastels. The memorial between the barracks B The bronze barbed-wire figures twisted to torment, the wedged-shaped building, its barred entrance, the strip of marble extending through a hole in the roof, the menorah resting at the top. I felt weak and landed on it. No one could believe what they saw B me resting there B so they pretended not to see. (pause) I stood for much more than a moment, watched all those bare legs move from spot to spot, thought how much I needed to find a way back to my flock. Lady And you expect me to believe this? Bird As I do you (pause) and do not.