06/24

lullaby 

we stole our fathers shoes,
the heaviest ones. each of us
cradled one like a baby-- told them
to hush. we escaped by the light 
of the fireflies who followed us down
into the closet at the end
of town. where have you gone
& never come back? this is a story of
failed elopement. the weight of show
in my arms, my brother lagging behind
as the world oscillates between
tundra & thick tall brush,
the shoe infant fussing
while i told it stories i remember 
from when i was just a single 
right appendage. all textbooks
have lied about the growth of humans.
we grow from our hands. i was first
a pinky, then a thumb then followed
all the rest. the shoes get heavier
as we go. my brother, clutching the shoe
to his chest & listing 
all the light object he can think of.
he says feather feather gust of wind
a single leaf until the boot
is as managable as air. we are not sure
what we will do when we get to the closet.
we did not see this on TV. 
i havea duck call in my pocket
made from a single blade of grass.
a great goose might arrive
& shelter us beneath her wings.
my brother asks me why are father
is our father & i tell him
no one is sure 
where the first father came from 
but they are sure there was 
no turning back. even the trees
have fathers. the only creature
without fathers is the fireflies
& look at how they glow.
they whisper in a secret language
& i tell my brother we should study it.
he says it's best to let secrets remain.
this is the difference between
him & me. he holds the shoe tight
until it stops sobbing. i put the single shoe on
& stomp around in the dirt. 
the closet has a chandelier 
& a dirt floor. the closet was made
slightly askew. when i say 
we needed to hide i mean we had
no idea where the edge of town was.
somewhere my dad was looking
for his children. he was slicing 
the night to pieces with a flashlight.
we are terrible runaway children.
hearing him laugh, limbs fell 
off trees. the boots broke 
into wails. hush, yes hush we said
until there was no sound 
& the closet doors cradled us
by its handles.

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