West Coast Eisteddfod Poetry Competition (3 Poems)
she says, you can never have too many books.
the books are stowed away like refugees, smuggled
from the upstairs closet beside the towels to the kitchen
pantry (replacing the expired boxes of cereal) to mother’s
bedroom to my bedroom to inside the downstairs
wall. this way, they can erase their tracks before getting
too comfortable, wipe away their histories so we cannot remember
where they reside; we cannot bend back their bindings.
one day, mother says, when we have room, when we
finish remodeling, when the holes are fixed, that is when
they will have a proper place, a permanent residence, no longer
shuffled like yard sale tv collectibles. one day seems too
far away, and the pages grow faster than our eyes
can run. age settles in. there are only so many
books one can read.
illegal alien brit lits were discovered in the american classics section
under the stove where there once was rice, and i realize
there is something terribly wrong about this world. my stomach
complains, unable to appreciate c.s. lewis at a time like this,
a time where decisions must be made. where we must
salvage only what needs to be saved, and harvest
what is required for living.
the work ethic I learned from my father
it’s raining; father sits
on his john deer and mows the front lawn.
this is how he dreams. he picks up
splintered side thoughts, dropped
from some place higher, carries
them under his arm like a child.
he gathers these days silently,
and when they are bereaved,
he does not mourn, only drives
forward, the hum of the motor
eaten by the shriek of wind trapped
between two peach trees.
have you ever seen a spring onion? father
took my hand and led it to the grass, pulling
and a stump of white, something I had
to strain my eyes to see. eat it, he told me,
and I tasted the familiar roots, the taste
of dirt and light and years of many errors
and replacements. Father told me how Uncle Rick
would kick the stems and break them,
how despite this, the bulbs would grow larger,
and become fit for cooking. I bend
to examine the stem of the onions, something
I had overlooked so far in years. Hardly discernable
from the grass. I wonder how many of them
have been kicked and uprooted, but overlooked,
not consumed but laying wounded in the grass .
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