Wednesday, February 16, 2011

31 Winter Poems: Poem 19

All I Have to Do Is Dream

Sometimes I imagine I am still sitting

in my lemon yellow room on Alberta Avenue

dressing paper dolls in their fancy clothing--

two-dimensional Betsy McCall visits Pollyanna

under the bright lights of an imaginary Victorian circus tent

or I am slowly sifting through a shiny tin of glass buttons

letting them drop jewel-like through my fingers

as my grandmother pushes her foot down hard

on the sewing machine pedal

speeding through her stitches like a race car driver

laughing at me and my cousins,

the girls all prancing with abandon

dancing in our underwear and Nan’s fancy hats and pearly beads

to Sheb Wooley’s “Flying Purple People Eater”

and The Everley Bros. “All I Have to Do Is Dream”, side B.

Lifting the lid on that little black box

carefully, as if it were a treasure chest,

to flip the record, change the 45, push the needle back again.

Giggling while we switch positions, fall

into the beanbag cushions of each other’s laps

sure of our bodies, our nimble limbs

skin on skin, hands, feet, bellies, intertwined

unafraid of warm human touch, soft caresses,

proud of our budding breasts

and bloodless thighs.

We have not yet met the snake charmer

working at the corner store, the one with oil-stained hands,

and the sickening smell of Wild Turkey and Merit 100s on his breath.

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