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Sample Poems by Toni Mirosevich
In the morning, in a line, one after the other; the Tongan boys
with backpacks, then the two toddlers—a boy, a girl—with their mother,
laboring past the house, the moment to catch her breath
at our fence post, the continuation, the march, next the reggae son
who forfeited school, the boom box, Rastaman Vibration, the smile,
the nod our way, the I will do you no harm, the Go ahead and blast
your music when you walk by our house if you will do us no harm,
the fathers at the Laundromat folding sarongs, the men who dress
in skirts and are not ridiculed, if families were all like this, if this
were the model, but we are not like this, the two dykes who live
in the corner house, the Irish boys who walk by next, who follow,
one after another, on their march to school (or is it to the sea
to collect salt?) they look like men in dhotis, with their blowsy pants
that resemble sarongs, these kids who just yesterday wrote bitch
on our fence, tell me, what would Gandhi do, would he follow
the march, the procession, all day long, of the Irish, the Vietnamese,
the Jamaicans, the Russians, the Filipinos, the mixed blood, who
walk by our house, or would he join us here, behind the window,
the queers, if only there were no separation, if only we could
bring up the rear, tomorrow I will stop the dogs barking when
you pass, will clean off the fence, will do you no harm, if only
we can break bread together, if only the twain shall meet.
Little boxes, on the hillside, little
boxes made of …
The man with the crazy wife has a set of power tools. Every Saturday he carries them out to the driveway: the drills and drill bits, the skill saws, the hacksaws. He cuts into the two by fours like a magician cutting a woman in two. He’s partial to particle-board. His buddies think he’s pussy-whipped. They say that she makes him walk the plank.
They live in a house called a saltbox. Inside she keeps cats. The rooms are littered with litter boxes, pet carriers. Who will carry me? she cries when she comes out at night to feed the skunks on the hill. “They’re my burglar alarm,” I once heard her say. “She’s been through a lot,” whispers a neighbor. “You should hear her tale.”
Outside he makes containers; a shed for the trash bins, floor to ceiling closets, wooden file cabinets. How big a box to contain madness? When he leaves in the morning she curses his name. I saw what you did last night, you fucker, she screams as he speeds away on his motorbike. He waves with one hand, shouts back, Abracadabra.
He recycles at odd hours, when no one is looking. Bottles, news-papers. Cardboard boxes flattened and bundled. My lover saws wood and keeps me up at night. The cats all sing when the moon is full, when the nightlight is on. A container ship sails by carrying untold bounty. I heard the delivery truck this morning. There’s a new load of wood in the driveway.
Later that evening three kids come to our door. Two boys
and a girl. None wear costumes. Before I give them any candy
they have to tell me who they are. I’m a queen, says the little girl
in the torn sweatshirt. I’m Batman, says one boy without wings.
I’m Dirtman, says the other and I can see, by the streaks of grime
on his face, that he’ll be the one voted most likely to succeed.