Issue 10


Winter 2014

 

Meleager’s Log

 

After your birth I sent advertisements
of your arrival, franked with bright red stamps
bearing gold daffodils. “Year of the Tiger” –
We roared into it, crossing through long labor:
doubled blind Tigers bound with cords together
and set free by a knife.

Sometimes I wish I were an Ox, sometimes
I wish you were. One of us should be steady!
One of us should cut less. We’re rough on clothing,
take meat neatly enough but afterward
quite often use it to beat the walls bloody.
You are perverse

In ways I can’t get round, because they’re my ways.
At each parental crossroad you’re a thorn-tree
bearing exquisite fruit. I wear your stripes!
And lay mine down on you, day after day,
with sharp vocalized warnings and with swipes
pleading, no more,

child, lithe child of mercy, whom I must
have mercy for and from: when you’re beyond me,
safe from maternal teeth, alive God willing,
when you’re beyond me I’ll stop worrying
about the last bright stamps I keep locked up
in inventory,

preserved from use like Meleager’s log.
A piece of your beginning, with a warning
directed at myself: you have some power
to save or spill. Be wise. Rank superstition,
but I don’t care. Tigers need admonition.

___________________________

Catherine Rockwood