Saturday, November 11, 2006


(for my father)

Hands large enough to swallow
two of mine in one gulp. Fi fie fo fum,
I smell the blood.
I struggled
to match your stride. Size thirteen
shoes shook the floor, thunder
rumbled through my chest. I collapsed
in a heap of giggles and a nest
of blankets. Nothing loomed over me

when your shadow did. Fi, Fie, Fo,
Fum. I smell the blood of an Englishman.
Be he live or be he dead, I'll grind
his bones to make my bread.
Your kidneys

betray you, blood sluices sediment, soil
to fertilize only poisonous flowers.
Belladona, foxglove, nightshade. None
of these will twine into a vine strong
enough for me to climb. You will live
and die here, rooted to the ground
while I agonize over what to trade
for the magic beans that can save you.

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