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Three Poems by Leslie Bonnette

Gary Miller

Ode to Franny-O’s

 

You pass

the time

wth me

some sweet

nights

 

I sit

with old

deli managers

day laborers

done-in actresses

doting pundits

 

You serve

me up

the usual

cool blue

valium drink

it stings

and tickles

my throat

 

Down in this

dark

world of

would-have-beens

and could-bes

is me

 

One for

if only

 

Two for

Why not

 

Three for

Whatever

 

My Father’s Hands

 

My father wasn't like Mr. Wonson

With his soft, flabby lips

And protruding belly.

 

My father was tall and lean and handsome

And looked like he could be somebody famous

“Like he stepped out of a bandbox,” my mother said

Only I didn't know anything about bandboxes.

 

He had the hands of an artist

Strong and gentle

I'd watch them

When he drew cartoons for me.

 

My father wasn't like Mr. Wonson

Who used to pull the drapes

And try to kiss me.

 

My father bought me jewelry and fancy dresses

Took me to dinner and dancing

He'd put my tiny feet on his and we'd whirl across the floor

Me, drunk on his cologne, he on his martinis.

 

My father wasn't like Mr. Lindars

Who asked the little girls into his garage

And had them pull their pants down.

 

My father picked me up every Sunday

And we'd go visiting

I'd sit quietly in my scratchy dress

While the grown ups laughed and ate.

 

He'd carry me drowsy to the car

We'd soar down silent parkways

In the blackness he'd pull me close.

 

My father's hands didn't seem like an artist's then and

I wished he'd leave them on the steering wheel

And me on my side of the car.

 

My father wasn't like Mr. Sarlin

The kind teacher who saw trouble in my eyes

And shed a tear when he read my poem.

 

My father cried when he had too much to drink

He told me he didn't know how to be a father

And I believed him.

 

Who was this stinking man

Who had the neighbors keep watch on me

Always needing to know where I was  

He said he'd show me just who was boss.

 

My father would have men with axe handles

Follow me and call my name

And then disappear.

 

These nameless, faceless men always seemed to know

Just where I'd be and 

Just what jewelry I'd be wearing.

I couldn't hide from my father's hands.

 

No, my father wasn't like Mr. Wonson

Who would pull the drapes and try to kiss me

Or Mr. Lindars hiding in his garage

 

My father was a silent, insidious stalker

Who seduced the little girl who thought he was God.

 

Suffocation

 

Reflections of

needles

in the diamonds

stab

and gleam

in your eyes

 

Moods and

shadows

in your smile

hide

and lurk

in our days

 

Fangs of anger

borne

of tears

ravage

a heart light

already dim

 

Cries of rage

in a desperate dream

mourn

for the light

of days past

that burned

in a vacuum.