All posts tagged Childhood

Communion Girl

Published April 25, 2013 by rlmcdermott

Communion Girl



Published September 12, 2012 by rlmcdermott

why them
why those
two girls
why that house
with the gray porch
and a mimosa growing
in the front yard

the old man
the apple tree
the factories
the gas station
the seven-eleven
the neighbor’s dog

nothing made
a difference

could you
hear them at night
could you
see them in the window
waiting to be seen
waiting to be loved

did you hear them
singing songs
writing poems
pretending to
be someone else

one heard voices
the other one
starved herself
hoarded pills
kept a butcher
knife underneath
her dress

she meant
that one

a cat has nine lives
a little girl has only one

The Witnessing

Published July 31, 2012 by rlmcdermott

They are coming
to sell me Jesus
knocking on my door
in the late afternoon
as the sun slowly
retreats from the
apartment’s tiny alcove.

I still myself for God
knowing he would never
knock so conspicuously.
Brightly-colored pamphlets
sharpen their teeth against
the men’s rough hands.
Those hands mean no good–
they push at words
like they would push at me,
fleshy and insistent, always
wanting their own way.

They will take who I am
and sell it. For sale:
the alcoholic father,
the abusive mother,
the days of anger, terrible
words and blows, Sundays
barricaded in a shared
bedroom forced to whisper
the rosary because she said so.

They can have it–
the name,
the unsocial security
of compensations
that have outlasted
dangerous times.
I am a veteran
of my own pain;
stolen from life
by bigger enemies
than these small men–
who would covet a name
that means remembrance?

Visiting Aunt Mae

Published July 18, 2012 by rlmcdermott

Seen and
not heard,
we sat in
wooden chairs
our feet barely
touching the
floor, our hands
hidden underneath
our dresses–
trapping the
words in
the warm
of our thighs.

“Keep this
one for me,”
you would
say, passing
the word
along in
the moist
knot of
your fist;
and I would
take it, never
its mystery,
burying it deep–
a stigmata of dreams
that we shared
in the long Saturday
afternoons spent
sitting in the
dark parlor
of a woman
who would
die of cancer
at the age
of thirty-five.