My mother's face is turning into stone.
The old bones are bleak, sharp sarcophagi,
silhouettes of former handsome woman,
clinging now to egotism
chiseled in maternal rock
—vicious against the godless infirmities
of eighty-four year-old abundant life.
The TV-forgotten starlet cries.
I love her old yellow teeth, worn smooth
like a calf's
her flat-insistent grandmotherliness
distilled in goat-humped plentitude
and sudden oatmeal health.
Let night press translucent lips
across her perfect cheeks;
my efforts are as impotent
as the winter sun's assault
on coastal vaults of fog;
and love, like lotto-dreams, is all
to nought—old stubs tossed
from a speeding car.
There, in the basket, the frightened kitten peeks,
eyes permanently racing home
to perfect chasing death.
In bed, the corpse lies too small,
like country-Jesus remorsefully drawn
upon a Lutheran cross,
breaths taken in advance of sea's demise,
with writhing universality,
wanton carnal salt.
A Case of Catfish Abuse
The six-pound cat
lay flat on the chilly boards,
its eyes moving in circles,
its whiskers twitching,
and its gills raising gaping holes in its sides.
"They'll live a long time if you'll just
pour water over them."
Its eyes made weird circles
under the raw wind off the Neches River.
Its gills made gaping red holes in its sides.
I took a deep breath and left.
And then the shameful sweet rain fell.