02/09

singing aloud to my dog

my voice like a frying pan,
round & weighty, grasped by the handle, 
i tell her i used to have 
a more usable tone
made of tin foil & string.
used to sit beside piano benches 
& throat-step notes like stairs
towards a vibrating attic.
like all young girls, i wanted 
to be a singer. wanted to open my mouth
& have a flock of birds emerge 
without warning. 
there were girls in my grade
like that. they had golden jaws
& burned violins in their front lawns.
i didn't bedroom lip sync 
or cry into mirrors. i tried so hard
to melody. swallowed a yellow bird.
slept on other feather pillows.
made sacrifices 
of second-hand flutes &
warped trumpets to the moon.  
still, i sounded the same.
now, like any real boy, my voice
is seldom useful or needed. 
i hum leather shoe fragments.
i scoop the name from songs.
tell me, do i sound like a father
or a front door? tell me,
do you hear the furrow where 
there used to be a strand of long
bowing hair? an opera is lurking
in every gender. mine is about
a snow-wanderer in the midst 
of a wild summer. i'm sure 
you have one too maybe about
a child born as a dog. 
if i had more teeth
i would remove one as a little
trap door for harmony to emerge.
who am i kidding? nothing from my lips
come out alive. once,
i found a very dead bird there.
cradled her to the backyard
to burry her. there i saw
all the pretty young girls
having a chorus without me.
you have to understand how much
this hurt me. my heart turned into 
a pipe organ i don't know
how to play. dear one, thank you
for your audience. for hearing
my mouth for what it is:
a mostly useless dresser drawer 
with a few lullabies left.


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