All over my city, on streets named for trees
and presidents, lawns have come back, dotted
with violets and slashed with red tulips' swords.
Days when I knew I'd die, I wanted
to stretch face down on lawns like these, taste
of green blades in my mouth, stained ankles
twisting. A Saturday father might
find a soft bump in the leaves beneath his rake tines;
mealy bone he sprinkled to the lilies might be mine.
Days when I knew the widths and lengths
of every stray feather, every dead yardbird's claw,
the full perimeter of fear, would he have sniffed
the air and fenced me out? Or cranked on the sprinklers
and wrapped a sweet twine of myrtle around my throat,
then let the fat robins rain down.
Pamela Gemin's first book, Vendettas, Charms, and Prayers,
is due September 15 from New Rivers Press. She is also co-editor of the anthology
Boomer Girls: Poems by Women from the Baby Boom Generation,
forthcoming from University of Iowa Press.