The girls in the back seat

The girls in the back seat
make their animals 
do interpretive dance 
to the tune of Colvin’s “Suicide Alley.”

They’re not listening 
and the words

dance with the animals
and will not settle on ears
or come to rest 
anywhere near their hearts

but if it were just 
the one, my own, 
she would be 
looking out the window,
holding her Bella,

and I would have to be ready
for her questing questions
about the meanings of words

and i would have to tell her what it means
to take one’s own life and 
I would have to tell her that
nobody knows what it means
to take one’s own life. 

I still don’t know 
what it means
not to.

A Little Grown Up



You are chatting 
with my big brother--your uncle, 
who wants to make cheese--

and cutting up a wedge of Tomme 
de Savoie, explaining to him
how this one is particularly ripe, 

finding its unique, piquant 
funkiness, that sharp bite, little bits 
of mold all through its bloomy rind,

and you are eating the pieces,
bloom and mold and all, and I 
awake, punched through by an ache, 

dumbstruck witness to a growing 
I can not understand, can only stand under,
pulled up by the roots from within me.

Dirt falls back to earth.
Dust drifts down to the floor.
My mouth is full of clay—
“Please, let her take her time.”