The engine crimps the forest
in your ear so I hold your hand
as we step into the van.
2. Our Neighborhood
is a world at once small, a mouth
of baby teeth yawning
in the desert. Our house is like the other
houses circling the pavement, windows
facing other windows
with invisible soup
can telephone lines between our bedroom
3. Rain comes to Candyland
Sidewalks marshmallow our lawn, vanilla
sugars sanding pavement seas as cars lean
against curbs like beached whales. The sea
is lava, but we are
safe under our umbrella. You wave
to the kids on the opposite shore, cheeks swelling
like a soldier on the 10 o' clock news.
4. Your Memory
Our bikes rattle parking lot fences, diamond
shadows on our legs. The shopping cart
is a black horse, a dot sinking
firework horizon. Dry mouthed
we remember the forest.
5. Blanket Fort
Sleeping bags cocoon our wide-awake skin, dandelion pillows
in Cheez-It fields, a river
of Capri Sun. Blankets stretch over crooked bones
or furniture, flashlights pulsing
story book hearts. I pull my tie-dye wolf shirt
over my leggy doorknobs and smell the desert
in a single carpet fiber.
6. Want Something?
The bus comes tomorrow, they say.
The shopping cart, our dirty teardrop, chomps
his bit. He gallops into the firework horizon, ears bobbing
like TV antennae. Their mom ghosts the door:
“You kids want something?”
The door opens into a yellow bellied centipede.
I draw my name on the window as you read
about growing up in New York City,
a place you’ve never been.
“Which house is yours?”
“The white one.”
9. Mr. Kay Says
the sun is dying--
in 15 billion years the Earth
will collapse like the blue
inside our squeezing eyes. Our parents
will die before then and I guess we will
too but what scares me
is that even in a black hole
our Neighborhood will diamond the nothing:
red, blue, and green compressing
The circle sleeps as I pop
tar bubbles, tiny planetariums collapsing
under God’s finger, which still has a scar
from the firework that burned our barn.
Your horse screamed like a vacuum
jumping sidewalk silence. Your horse died
before running from the barn, skeleton streaking
the night with a yellow bruise.
They say the circle is a Cul-de-sac,
which is a pretty word to say aloud
until I remember your horse, and our parents.
11. What You Ask Our Parents Over Dinner
“Did you die before running here?”
Our mom parks between lines that we cross
with shadow-eager legs, asphalt twigs snapping
mountain frost. Mountain: a dragon constipating
white light. A lanky kid
herds caterpillar carts. Sliding doors swoosh
air conditioning, skinny dads in plaid
surveying corn flakes in aviator silence,
kids orbiting Jupiter moms. You hold
our mom’s doll wrist. She can’t decide
which cerealbecause they all have
high-fructose corn syrup, which is like sugar
13. Automatic Coupon Dispenser
Endless paper tongues, I never wanted
anything else. The green light flashes Save Now!
What are we saving?
You rip another tongue. Lives.
Our mom’s cart, a coffin
rocking paper tongues. She never decided
on a cereal but is getting me a water gun
and you a book because you hate
getting your hair wet. Car windows
reflect Mary Kay skies, a panda propped
on parking lights. The lanky kid
flashes his smiley face sticker
and frowns. From our backseat I watch
other kids in other backseats and shield my eyes
from the white mountain.
The forest in your ear now grows
in our bedroom.
A stream bursts
from your mouth. I forget the taste
of bottled water. We ride our bed
downstairs, oceans filling carpet deserts.
Our mom looks up from empty cereal boxes:
“You kids want something?”
I hold my hand over your mouth to keep
the ocean in. My other hand scrapes your chest,
a horse-shaped space.