Counterpane, (From the titular Counterpane and Other Poems)
'Ere each day fare with tangled hair she stood above her village fair and it was her land-Counterpane in towers, blocks, and figurines across the floor was scattered more plastic men-her children wore Queen Lily’s royal robes they fell- her tresses, silk like folds like clouds they swelled, the billowed, rolled hills of glass and velvet grass Her plastic figures silent passed. Lego castles, puppet kings- origami fish in streams the land of Counterpane-her dream Where she was loved-where she was queen There hung porcelain ballerinas Puppets-their spine a string paper shapes of boys and girls birds that could not sing Each house, the homes, on different roads a lightbulb sun above them glowed Her city stretched across the room flanked by flowers, full in bloom each street had its own unique name desolation drive and memory lane at the end of the road, so read a post the outside fringe of counterpane a portrait of her dead father hangs in each home, each father gone a mother with the children lone the only life she’d ever known Lily put out the lights each night star stickers on the ceiling bright were taken to the barn, they laid over which hung a model plane in the dream world Counterpane where plush horses roamed the carpet plains Her blind rooster crowed at dawn a digital clock croaked monotone she took her origami dolls down paper boulevards houses that she made of wood, the tracks- a car rolled up, she sent it back in Counterpane, the sun was but a high wattage coiled light bulb that hovered above, balloons over what was Lily’s zoo lions, tigers, caribou. An electric train weaved in and out back alleys, highways, all about around the town, their daily routes intersecting broken homes some got off, some more placed on and sang the train an electric song some went to work, some went home above them all the queen looked on a stray lost in the rain she couldn’t find her way back home She wandered through the night alone longing for some far off dawn humming still her father’s song the one he sang in church Whistling as birds on a perch She took her dinner on the porch As the wind picked up with force She slipped into a calm day dream Piece by piece, year by year she lost her lovely village dear How hard it is, how it must be To be in love with a memory And all those birds, to beauty bring Lily only longed to sing oh-it would be a wondrous thing she spelled hope, her fears, those dreams And she grew up, her story told how cold-- to lose your loved ones young and old and her village, Counterpane had turned into dusty plains so much, now vacant- gone until there were three roads, just three streets lone: Desolation lonely drive- where guardian angels go to die and miracle mile where children smiled. Those plastic stars above shone bright when the light bulb sun blinked off no light and in those fevered dreams it seemed she wore such fancy diamond rings the mic in hand, about to sing yet no words came to mind Lily-she-in her fantasy sat on a vacant stage and cried again she tried to sing but no words came the audience booed, and chased her off stage where once was a flame went out she tried to scream and had no mouth in that darkest hour, though bitter she had found she had nothing left to sing about That same old song was lost, and lo- She had no place to go, no home Autistic-letters in her pocket- A though Z, Queen Lily-Got it, such love imaginary-- she gave the blocks to her mother Mary. I love you, she wrote on the board. I love you, too, she said, Amore. she patted Lily on the head Her mothers mouth was stained and smiling though in her eyes-she sighed, she cried If only she was capable, to speak, no blocks instead to sing the sweet songs in her head like all sweet voices which she heard not just television static- a hopeless feeling for a girl to fold her hands to pray, unheard she was a silent ballerina who jumped and whirled, she twirled until stopped the hand she bowed before quiet clapping hands On Hera’s necklace, our blue world covered in newspapers and words have we amongst all of the worlds yielded tender green, and herbs is mother earth herself in search for meaning-a lost stray too our world another ballerina lost and wandering too another lone star shooting by with Lily’s head turned to the sky Such a strange blue marble here on which we all are trapped coming together with a silent storm, a pearl in the hydrogen, and wastes of space another ballerina lost, unconscious turning-leaving puffs of listless clouds tufts behind a crystal ball of gathered snow under which we come and go quiet shadows in a row. Time went by, and year by year— the houses and the people disappeared: one after another family gone which once was dear; from her throne she looked with tears at her dying World made make believe; how hard it is, how it must be to be in love with a memory. Now an old lady, lonely, old the tree of memory where once she hung he that portrait of some stranger hangs and when it went but three remained three dead end roads of Counterpane Desolation drive and miracle mile and the worn out road of memory lane how hard it is, deaths fingers cold miracle mile where children smiled they laughed, they sing, and they grow old Where the portrait of the stranger hangs in the ghost town Counterpane each day that passed her by turned gray and she spoke through her blocks to her children by the bed to say I’ll see you in Counterpane.