Narrated by Marie Vibbert
Hazel falters; she misses
paper children and her wooden leg
spindles in her railing—aging
point that is dagger-formed like hands.
She leans into herself,
curls eaves for warmth
and prays with open-shuttered doors.
Rust-lock slides ruby wood so cold
so old the hinge, jimmy it.
You lift her from her threshold gently,
peel back her lips and slide into her teeth.
Her open throat accepts you.
Too much, too heavy, too painted.
Hazel closes off a moan; she stretches back,
lets you climb her too-thin lap
tilting down. Hold on.
Knees splinter shins.
Gaps between wood and rail.
It’s okay, Baby. Hazel, she’s seen it all.
The roller skate accident-man, blood,
gummy like candy,
brushes the bristled pole with wondering hand.
Can this be me?
Twelve-dollar hold-ups at the corner store,
screaming quick-sketch band-poster men.
Baby, Baby, she rocks in the night. Gentle
grad students all took up in her arms,
old pal tree at hand, scratching.
Lord if I can just keep my front door shut!
Toe-nudge back that rubber snake at the gap.
Wood holds, if wood can.
BIO: Marie Vibbert is a software developer in Cleveland, Ohio. Her poetry has appeared in Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, and tiny poetry houses in Pittsburgh. (She considers that a successful foreign invasion.) She was a defensive tackle for the Cleveland Fusion women’s tackle football team for five years.