Anything for Love
a museum of my childhood
Bat out of Hell II: Back into Hell
Compact disc (1993, MCA Records)
The house stinks of Lysol and willpower. From bed,
I watch sunlight decant onto the walls and listen
to my mother wailing with Meatloaf, a towel tied
around the mop like a scarf on a microphone.
Wood and nails (c. 1989, repaired annually)
My brother and his friend, both skating
toward high school, hold and straighten
and hold the limber yellow boards against
the posts. Their lives, though just fenced,
threaten to unfold. Four beers disappear
when Dad goes to Ace for nails. To interfere,
to parent, is not his style. The sun drops behind
vast buzzing stretches of power lines.
Patterns: Block Optic, Patrician, Homespun (c. 1931, American)
The plates stand at attention behind glass
in the china cabinet, saluting guests
at bunko parties, Christmas, the rare brunch
when my mother felt rich.
After school, I trace the parrots, fruit, lace.
The night my grandmother moves out,
she slides saucers into her suitcase,
stacking platters with silk-blend blouses.
Metal (c. 1862, Confederate States of America)
The bullet press gleams deadly black
shadowboxed against matte velvet.
Its handles smile, round mouth gaping,
as it reaches a sooty finger out to touch
my sternum, hissing wait. I grow small
under plans, darkness, tattered maps.