Go back

                                                                                                Arlene Ang

   

In his lungs

goldfish swim back and forth.
Their fins are apricot gossamer,

nothing x-ray can capture with
a flash. He swears the ghosts

of babies he pulled out
from the river in another life

have a secret connection
with telegraph poles.

During a storm, the gurgle
of drowning mouths is loudest.

His appetite rides the crescendo.
In water, two hundred pounds

dissolve like maple syrup.
The drawn blinds slash his face

with sunlight. His dietician
studies the slivers,

a throwback to the bronze mirror
smashed by another client.

Idly, she doodles blue whales
on margins of his progress report.

   

Towards 47th San Seviera Drive

On your daughterís last count,
there were:

26 mailboxes on the left,
30 to the right,
5 fenced dogs with short hair,
51 cars double-parked
on the No Unloading zone,
2 patrol officers
on a record time of 4 tickets
per half-minute.

Of the 18 seasonal flowerbeds,
7 had been overthrown
by weeds, and
3 by star-nosed moles.
Unnoticed, 9 orange trees
are dropping fruit
in backyards, the numbers
of which are incalculable
from a moving car.

A horned toad lies
belly-down on asphalt:
in school,
her math teacher said
recent statistics on kisses
that unmask kings
under the guise of amphibians
is .1 in 12 billion.

No one ever asks the road kill
how it was for him.

   

A Fatherís Life

Years after his lung operation, my father
has never recovered from the fear.

He clings to the couch with hands
that grip armrests like prayer beads.

Mom phones daily to express relief
when he enters the bathroom on his own.

On his 80th birthday, we collected
a set of brushes, oil paints, easel

and stretched canvasses in ascending sizes.
He naphthalened our gift in the back closet

for the season when weariness migrates south.
We know that day would never come.

Caged in faking sickness, he lies low
like a whipped dog with the hope

death would miss the whisper of his breath.
He holds my three-year-old son close.

Looking from one to the other, I am
struck at how they could have been twins.

   

   

                                                                                                © Arlene Ang

triple rule

Loch Raven Review Fall 2005 — Vol. I, No. 1
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