RAIN ON FUR JAZZ
Mary Lou, it takes miles to
Yea, it do
FM highway becoming blue
suite Marsalis merged
where we were wore into
where we be at
The loneliest variation alternating key
Monk felt the night seas
moanin’ for me
and love making supplied the
stood the last Queen exalting her own
chiffon train her own
Rain on fur jazz
FOR MY MOTHER’S EXOTIC FLOWERS
For my mother’s exotic flowers everything must go.
Winter’s pill into the African Violet;
cold, inner nudity when Passion Flowers
dissolve the coat of the Amazon Lily,
and into the fire of all those
painful memories, Bottle Brush
the box of her clothes with the Blanket flower;
her nail file, Bleeding Heartwine, and the Blue Dawn soap,
perfumed with Chrysanthemums.
Everything must go
with the Prayer Plant she watered
over broken reading glasses.
The broken see the Grass of Dew,
and illusion’s Morning Glory.
Everything must go without hope—
world, word, knowing too.
Everything into the purple Cosmos;
Dahlia, Flame of the Forest, Tulip through
the Bitter Gourd, the Lotus and the Alpine Daisy
into her imprisoned yawnings behind man’s gross silo.
Everything must go—
POT O’ GOLD
I blame my hopelessness on the fact that I never found
a box of Lucky Charms full of pure marshmallows
or a four-leafed clover. I traded reality
for dream, knelt within the grass—
God eyes full of dirt.
The trembling shingles companions in the search.
There wasn’t a genie & a lamp up in the attic— just black, plastic bags
spewing out old lotto tickets from my grandmother’s time of never having won anything.
And no matter how many candles I blew out, the wish
could never afford a way out of my dream. Broke countless
bones in half for wishes of wishes: I wish to be other than I am.
How many chickens had to crack,
so the mind could flee to the end of a question?
Back then I lived next to a convenience store called Pot o’ Gold.
There— I bought hot chips with the dimes I stole from my grandmother’s pocketbook.
There— three cashiers were shot down in cold blood.
This— the Southside of Chicago, 1999; and afterwards
every corner store owned a gun.
Lou Heron is a graduate of St. John’s College in Annapolis. Her work has appeared most recently in The Columbia Review and the Modern Poetry Quarterly Review, and she was a finalist for the Barrow Street first collection prize. She is currently working on her third collection The Emancipation Proclamation: Science Fiction of Purple Rain.