BOOKS OCTOBER 22, 2008
They took Katie to the tool shed today,
cleaned her of her fingers. The machete
and the flint fire, hands cut and burned
closed. Orange. Purple. The sky
or us healing. Dying.
Heartbeat heartbeat heartbeat. The hay
they use to stitch-up. Keep
our insides inside. She can't
play rugby today, makes a doll
from a can of condensed milk.
Gives it a voice. Something
to follow. A leopard yawning,
an impala collapsing
into calfhood. When she was smaller,
a different school, she watched
The Wizard of Oz with a richman's daughter,
a living room that had brown carpeting
and smelled of limes.
This sort-of rain is coming, thin yarns
spooling from the sky. Katie says
she will climb one with remembered fingers
all the way to green palaces
and hearts that run on batteries.
Tonight, wet, scabbing, she says,
as if in instruction, Click your heels
three times, three times, they break.
This poem originally ran in the October 22, 2008, issue of the magazine.