Friday, March 5, 2010
Erika Meitner reads her poem from day 45
Slinky Dirt With Development Hat
O Mama. Juice. Pile of dirt.
Sand pit where the workers stopped
working. Home is a backhoe
with no keys, silent, yellow. Passing
cars buzz the lots for sale that still
have trees, have liens. Our development
is mid-cul-de-sac. There are half-moons
carved into hills, and when we walk
down the unpaved, unnamed road,
past the upright pipes marking gas
or sewer, there’s often a father and son
joyriding on one four-wheeler, sans helmets.
They wave hello and we wave back.
There’s bankruptcy court. A promised
swimming pool. There’s hope that bounces
down the stairs, slinks away, and hides
under a chair. My son pitches a fit
when we pass a digger and I won’t stop
for the excavation; when the other children
sing the alphabet he doesn’t join in.
After two servings of milk, there’s
water. Farther, further, father.
Mama. Juice. Pile of dirt, he calls
from the car window to the bleached
frames, empty and bowed as a set
of whale ribs, their cupped hands
spilling sand and clay. He presses
his red mitten to the glass and waves
hello to our master-planned community,
the houses that are just like ours, but for
the countertop finish, or optional bonus room
above the garage, or guns in the cupboards
beneath commemorative plates, tucked
next to receipts for winter and re-wear
that coat one more year. In the dusk,
the mountaintops flatten themselves
to escape the calcified bulldozers
that won’t come after them anymore.
It is March and there’s snow crusted
over with ice. Our jackets are too small,
but the snaps still snap. The zippers still
zip. We shiver and turn the heat up.
Erika Meitner’s first book, Inventory at the All-Night Drugstore, was published by Anhinga Press in 2003. She lives in Blacksburg, VA, and teaches in the MFA program at Virginia Tech. Her son Oz (age 2) regularly refers to Obama as “Omama.”
Originally posted on March 5, 2009
Click here for the MP3 of this reading.
Posted by Arielle Greenberg & Rachel Zucker at 8:00 AM