It Was A 3.8
My mother said go get me a plum.
When I got to the fridge, she said
and some almonds.
In the cabinet, the air-tight calm
of a canned baby ham.
My grandmother lost a forefinger
while slicing onions! No you silly,
she got an infection. The headache
unsteadied her hand, the knife slipped.
A tumor in her skull the size of an onion.
Next, twelve years old, we were shooting
straight pool at the bowladrome.
The eight ball lived a separate life,
Joey and Mark said no matter what
they won’t obey Father Byrne anymore.
Go get me a cigarette, she said,
and some chocolate.
Joey said, Yeah, I’ll tell you what it tastes like.
It tastes like my mother’s pork leftovers
rotting in the garbage for a week.
There was an earthquake but I didn’t feel it.
The catalpa must have died last fall,
or over the winter, or just an hour ago,
or just a second ago. Grind up the stump,
plant a spindly dogwood.
Lying in bed, transistor under my pillow,
the countdown to number one.
Take good care of my baby,
if I’d been true I know she’d never be with you.
But how could he do that to her? How can he sing?
Then came the after-tremor.