Childhood

All posts tagged Childhood

Portrait of Cynthia

Published March 30, 2015 by rlmcdermott

Portrait of Cynthia

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Headlines

Published May 13, 2014 by rlmcdermott

How did
this happen;
dead beneath
the headlines–
blue metal,
blue bird,
blue child?

Imagine
the moment,
the sharp
slap of air,
the ferocious
snap of wing,
and then
the still
and certain fall.

And you,
the child,
all breakable
bone; your
arm twisted
until it spiraled
out of its socket,
and like the
bird fell
down.

On a cold Sunday,
inside a newspaper,
beside a metal dumpster
two things dead–
a bird and a child.Child

Andante Deliorosa

Published April 8, 2014 by rlmcdermott

Mineola
Rosyln
Old Westbury
warm summer nights
in a three-piece suit
gray fedora
Walter Mitty
bobby pins
floral housecoat–
once around the block
without a license

Wilkes-Barre
coal mines
John L. Lewis
brick shithouse
battle-axe
St Paul of the Lily–
it took seven years
to ask her to marry him

Sister Anne Bernadette
Mary Schroeder
Nancy Drew
with a built-up shoe

Lost in New Jersey
Lost in Brooklyn
Lost in Manhattan
Lost on Long Island

No need to
ask for directions
right turn
left turn
bear right
bear left
stop–everything
was played by ear

The Opera Singer

Published June 11, 2013 by rlmcdermott

She sang
in the bathroom–
high notes,
clear,
chaste,
contralateral.

A songbird puffing
cigarettes between breaths,

all was illegal about those years–
the teased hair,
the shaved eyebrows,
the rolled-up skirt.

Violetta everywhere,
father dying
on a red-velvet couch.

Where were the old dreams,
the dreams her parents had for her;
there was a truth to them
that she ignored–

the bottle-shaped dreams
of an alcoholic father,

the woman in the kitchen
silent for forty years
now heard for the first time,

a half-forgotten song,
snatches of melody,
lingering in her memory.

They gave her a watch
so she could know time was running out.
She listened to the ticking; rhythmic
like a song, like a poem,
an alliteration of small explosions
striking the final destination.

The days of summer and sadness,
the little girl heart beating badly,
the pills stolen from a dying father,
the butcher knife hidden in a rotting mattress,
the poems packed in a yellow suitcase–
songs saved for another day.The Opera Singer

The Accident

Published April 25, 2013 by rlmcdermott

It did not belong to her,
it was not her memory;
yet, she remembers the
day–the white church with
the green roof, the sun hot
on her face, her mother and sister
lingering on the church steps,
the priest surrounded by young girls
and then the sound.

They all turned their heads,
one head on one neck,
twisting muscle, grinding bone,
turning, turning toward the sound.

It was before air bags,
before seat belts,
before soft metals
and rubber bumpers–
everything was hard.

It did not belong to her;
it was not her memory;
but she remembers–
the doors snapping open,
three white birds falling
to the ground, the open
mouth of her mother,
the blue eyes of the priest,
the smell of jasmine and incense,
a young girl screaming
and, then, silence.Communion Girl