P. F. Potvin
Heaping in a Party
"Let us pray," the teacher commanded when our sweettooths gnawed away
the bookhunger. I knelt on the broken tiles, cursed the rations, and
blurted mine the loudest. But the following day was only bitter.
After cracking problems for hours in our moldering texts, the teacher
belled a break. This time she slung a picture. Then we joined hands
in a new prayer to Castro. The next day green uniforms heaped in a
party of crates. We squealed, skipped, and stuffed our mouths just
plump enough to make you believe.
Her car radio said wildfire. But she listened closer. "It's nowhere
near here." Still he saw it roaring her, raging from gully to river,
forest to field, then fanning to consume her memory. It blackened the
mountain fire lookout where they curled at lightning. It charred a
spooked grizzly that reared near the hood of their car. It boiled the
lake where they dove clear and held the moon down under at dawn. A
year later she remembered only shouting. He leapt from her car at 80
mph with his proof of the radio's wrong.
She watches the kids after breakfast, and I come in the afternoon.
Sometimes, she drives her new boyfriend's Volvo. The other days he
rips into the driveway, waves his hands, and revs the engine. He's a
serious conductor and never says a word to me. Last week, she walked
over to watch Jamon Jamon. The Spanish film was about a colossal
wooden bull on a hillside and people forking ham and eggs. It ended
with her boyfriend driving aimlessly as her clothes lay heaping the
An Unwilling Story
They divide the bed in half, give or take a leg. And he's always
reaching. Soon she's had it, flips and slits the mattress,
clawing out her stuffing. She blows the day beading neighborhood
windows with her BB gun and gulping red wine. When she's gathered
enough material in her black plastic sack, she rustles home and
refills her half—33% shard, 17% cork. She thinks it can be
that simple. But his half is a different story that needs no telling
because in the end he's still unwilling to stay off her side.
Animals at 5 A.M.
Your back in bed is this typewriter. Each space between the blades
another letter to move me into this —
a kiddy dream before Where
The Wild Things Are a jungle
my mouth a lushpocket loaded
with zebracorn, unilion,
crochadactyle jacking boats while
a choir of hyenas ring
in a triangle song your voice
held delicate blue
ink took me home to father
my fingers continue
on and so you called me
daddy if I'm yours somewhere
listening thirty years beyond
in a wallpaper pealing
motel yellow TV blare shivering
across dogs in alleys like
So now it's not tonight then. You're too tuckered to speak and I'm
taptaptipping for sleep.
Goodbye I thought.
P.S. typewriter — Don't wake the animals