By Mark Taksa
Feed FlowersWind, if it woke, might scrape a leaf
against the planks. Flowers wilt in the pot.
A departed wind pushed the watering can, dry,
to its side. Dry wood shows through porch paint.Long waiting for the call of a shadow
over the grass, your ear works to detect the hint
of a step. Wind sleeps. The dog, eyes wide,
searches your telling the planks that the windhas not scraped a leaf, and so, you do not fill
the pot and feed flowers… If the shadow
did show, you would protest the pitch
of the porch creak. After rain, the desertshows cacti with thorns a person
might squeeze for less cutting but reliable pain.
To be a gentle garden, forget the wind, the shadows.
Expect like a dog, eager for the never heard. UnclutteredIt is as if a bomb has blasted the museum
into a dessert and shattered the plumbing,
and I am cramped by a crowd
elbowing to gulp the only water flowing,which is framed paint. In the clutch of the clothes
of the gawkers, I cannot dream into the paint,
cannot keep the bird flying. My wife
praises the painter for brushing oilinto water and pulls me out of the clutch.
We leave into wide sun. I taste
ice cream in cones that giggling kids
hold at the entrance of a little visited museum,which is the artist’s kitchen. No one walks
between me and his utensils. No one cuts
quiet with the click of a camera.
No one crowds. Unclutched,I see a water lever the artist pumped.
The nicked and blackened pot was
in the painter’s hand. I imagine the wings
of the painted bird fluttering and rising. Travels With A Rusty BuddyAfter your engine repairs burned our vacation cash,
my son and I loaded a lighter load of weeds
into your trunk. I had gone down to the garage
to whisper, as if you were an army buddy I could trust,I would keep you healthy, if you kept traveling
until the boy went back to school. That summer
our family skipped the gardens of kings for apricots and azaleas
we planted. We journeyed by gazing at tourist posters.You jangled, as we traveled from our smooth street
to a path speckled by broken bottles and concrete shards.
The gate keeper—too busy gazing at your long,
yellow fin of metal made in the old wayso it would weather and linger at any age—
did not hear your engine gurgle like a coffee grinder.
She waved us to the hill of ripped upholstery,
rusty pistons, and ruptured tires. I wonderedif it was your last journey to the dump…
I kept my promise to change your oil. Your bumper
fades out of our driveway and around the corner,
as you carry the boy to his first date. Trends
Bored with speaking among unnoticed trees
to unseen people, I buried my cache of secrets
of stock trends I lied would uncork
the wine of wealth as long as forests grew.I bought a donut factory, got rich and fat,
positioned myself at a mirror as if all there was of me
was my thin head. Lugging donuts out of the factory,
I entered the path of a sweating runner
with a high stride. She glared, then rushed off,
as if my fat would cling on her dainty ankles.Flowing with the cadence of her legs, her hair
was long in my longing to be her towel.
I concluded she would love me,
if I contrived to be again an unseen man.
I dropped the donuts into a box
for free books, ate squash and apples.When the weather was for high strides
and I had forgotten sugar, I went back to the path
where the runner and I had reconnoitered. I got sunburned
and impatient with patience… No trend lasts. Loud Listening
The kettle was heavy in my wife’s arms
when she was little and her mother led her
to the faucet and told her there would always be water
and vegetables in the garden. They gathered,
chopped, boiled, and merged food.
During our first conversations,
my wife heard me ooze memories clamped shut
like a scream in my shoes. She cooked meals
more tasty than any I had chewed.
My memories loudened her listening.
She had never taken talk and wine with a man
who, when a boy, drank from a dry glass
under a dry faucet in a freezing room with a dry toilet,
and whose mother slapped him while he squatted
on a document she claimed was proof
of her inheritance. The toilet was dry.
Her hitting hand sore, my mother stuck
her thumb into a lid holding our last ketchup
and drew a smudge she called a copy
of a lake someone would give her.
She shouted at her foot to carry her to the water
before the other mothers to stole her legacy.
I carried a pot to tables, to cabinets, to all
the room’s corners—searching for water to quiet
the shouting… In the home my wife loves
to build, there is always listening. About the Author:Mark Taksa’s poems are appearing in Main Street Rag, Slant, and Trajectory, He is the author of ten chapbooks. The Invention of Love (March Street Press), Love Among The Antiquarians (Pudding House), The Torah At The End Of The Train (first place in the 2009 Poetica Magazine chapbook contest), are the most recent.