TRINA WATCHING PENGUINS
I think about my wedding day--
penguin-like Frank in a tux,
my mother disappearing
behind a pale blue dress
and eye shadow, my allergic
father. When penguins dip
and dive, do they sense that
they've been had? Marriage
was supposed to be
my Antarctica, a shore
to stand on. I soon found
that I'm in a zoo. People
point and say "Trina's so capable."
I can do tricks, can flap my wings,
but swimming away?--my nose
hits glass. Is there a secret
break in the tank
so I can find my real home?
TRINA AND THE SKY
Vicki's home from the body
piercing shop, a silver stud
through her tongue. Soon
she'll have no skin left,
only iron ripples and
greenish swirls. She calls
her body a big experiment.
I didn't experiment, smiled
when smiling was wanted.
Even now, in beige
and gold, beige and gold,
I'm told I look nice. Vicki
looks like a scream. Maybe
in a laboratory something new
demands a scream--the sky
always changes. Vicki,
a sky pierced by lightning.
TRINA DOES THE KITCHEN FLOOR
My family knows this room
by their feet. They breeze
in, open the fridge, and go.
I know this room through my fingers
dragging a rag over the floor, fingers
pruned in soapy water. A breeze
drops in the living room,
dead before it finds me. Years ago
I felt I'd have some place to go,
not a kitchen smelling of chicken fingers
and disinfectant. I'd breeze
my way from country to country, room
to room, but I had babies, no room
for travel then, no place to go
but to the sink or nursery, my fingers
cleaning floors and bottoms. No breeze
to cool my anger in every room, no breeze
and a grief that won't go from my fingers.
TRINA AND ELVIS
I suppose that I believe God watches
over this house. Well, I hope God likes comedy.
I took Vicki and Chester to Pekin Bible Church
every Sunday. Frank wouldn't go, said
if he didn't cut the grass on Sunday morning
it would never get done. Vicki calls God
a loser and Chester doesn't talk about spiritual things,
at least with us. So I sit downstairs with Elvis,
tell him about my day. I think of him
as a permanent guest in our basement.
I'd better go back upstairs now. Bye, Elvis.
I climb the stairs and open a door
that leads into our jam-scented kitchen.
Through the window I see our porchlight,
a single yellow firefly. A flash of heat lightning.
For a second, the sky looks like a black
leather jacket, the silver zipper a line
of stars sliding through elms.