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Things Near Seeming Far


ISSUE:  Spring 1991
The spider plant spins in the wind. My hands spun
a paper globe until it whistled. Miss Donne
squeezed my wrist in her fat hand while telling
my father, “She is purposefully destroying
school property.” Shaking, I can still feel and hear
the planes rattling overhead. While flying, things near
seem far. I see the earth curve like a dish. I know
I’m in a jaw-breaker ring of air looking out. Below,
it spins tighter.     The TV’s wire butterfly
antenna cuts the sky into wedges of pie.
As I move, the filling changes. First brick,
then fluted wood, now clouds. Mother would prick
the crown of the banana cream to make pixy curls
that she burned to suit my dad. Mom and the girls
had to keep his rules.   Among the low plum trees
my little white father sat in my yard with bees
dancing on the lip of his beer. His ears and nose
had grown transparent and large. His gray eyes rose
up squinting at crabby squirrels. Through the leaves
a plane passes. When flying, everyone believes
that everything is supposed to stay there,
even though they see it go. Sometimes there is just air
until you land and things grow back large, bump, and slam.
My brother, Gary, once said, “Dad’s finally old. Damn
it—we used to pray that he’d grow too old to beat
us. Now that he is, it’s too late.” My father and I meet
while steam clouds escape from the curtains at the
 window,
and my sheets fill with wind, dropping like stones in the
 yard below.

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