mornings with attie

these are things we like to eat:

rice & beans

                    french fries
                         ice cream

chicken nuggets

          and these are our favorite dinosaurs:


                              water dinosaur

          last night we dreamt about:


                                   stegosaurus (his cat)

at school we like to:

          play with my friends
                    play with the rocket ship
                              play with ms. Sandra

                         eat candy Friday
          play with toys

                         lions or cheetahs?


          ants or butterflies?


mommy or daddy?
                              pop pop!

(the end)

how i lacked imagination

we play rock-paper-scissors
and i lose

not because i let him win but
because he’s beaten me
with a well placed dinosaur;
hands chomping
                    at my fingers

                    / at three years old he’s figured
                    dinosaurs should no doubt

                    beat rock paper and/or
                    scissors every time

                                        which is true /

when i try to explain that the game
is in fact not called

he shakes his head as if
pitying me my lack of imagination

readying himself for
                    another go

catching bubbles

ah, the futility of catching bubbles
in bare hands
those blown out the yellow bubble
blower sitting on the patio table

but we try,
and fail and instead count
our successes not in the bubbles
we’ve caught and put into a
glass jar

but in the minutes spent laughing at
the cat as he
tries to catch them as well

and part of my brain is
telling me

this is a metaphor for something

but I can’t think what, i don’t have the time
/ too busy catching bubbles floating
up between laughter and the cat’s
fruitless swiping

summer from a red tub

small lips yell “i’m wet!”
the hose sprays into the air,
mini rainbows within each long arc of water

“my hands are cold”
and i offer him the his blue towel

we both know he has no desire to get out
our makeshift pool;

                    a red plastic tub he can only just
                    submerge his body in

enough to keep him busy for
twenty plus minutes as
i sit nearby, sweat pooling in the crook of my

elbow & fanning myself with the book of
poems i thought i’d read
but haven’t been able to, not a single stanza

too busy watching the poetry of him splash at bees
stick legs dangling over the plastic sides
toes dripping into the dry grass /

in the desert, summer comes in may,
happy to settle over a lazy sunday afternoon
and into a red plastic tub

                    full of cold hose water
                    and a content child

– so that i feel like i could live in this
moment until the sun goes down

the yellow swing

there / beneath
the yellow swing
and my son’s dangling
i see the future in the
space between
the plastic and the high grass –
& can’t help
          a thankful smile

(inspired by William Carlos Williams)

afternoons in the backyard

is there any wonder that
i could feel complete:
                         waist-deep in an orange
                         kiddie pool,

haphazard waves
made by a toddler’s splashing
/ i was a hero in those shallow depths

a fighter of bees and tantrums
with only the afternoon
sun as my shield; imagination
my sword

– or trident, in keeping with
the theme –

and the sharks!
the kind that attack from
behind the green ball

i was his hero
and he my apprentice
and together we vanquished

our enemies before
being called back in
for dinner

some honesty on a tuesday morning

there is that time in the morning when
bird songs mingle with the
sound of the sprinklers coming alive /

            < beads of silvery water cascading
            in succession down single blades
            of grass >

the gurgling of a percolator floats
through the still air;

watching the sun break
through a distant horizon, scaling single
story houses like an olympic hurdler –

the music of a coming day waiting for the
brass band of daily living to start up and
get us marching

i can think, with sincere clarity, drinking my coffee
with crust in my eye:

            damn, i’m tired.

mesquites in the yard


the mesquite casts
a crooked shadow
over this wood slatted bench
          in the yard
the branches
like fingers reaching
for my bare feet
          the grass threatens
          to hold them /
          brown from the
          late season
maybe we’ll hang a tire
swing from those scraggly
plant a homely garden
to sit an watch grow while
a toddler swings
his legs kicking wildly in
the air
          / settled in this home at last

his eyes make me remember


there is something in your
wild- haired expressions
your brown eyes watching my every move
that make me remember
watching my father mow the lawn
baseball playing
on a grass stained am/fm radio
and his sweat dampened shirt
hanging from his slight frame
watching him
with the same brown eyes
rake in my hand and scowl on my face
slapping at the mosquitoes
making a picnic lunch of my ankles
while he moved
along rows in the backyard
that only he could see
I raked grass clippings
snaking them into large
black plastic garbage bags
leaving the backyard
looking like me after
one of his basement hair cuts
on sweltering summer days
and when we’d go back inside
my mother waited
with a large glass of water and
boiled plantains mashed
with fried eggs and canned fish
ending the night with
his famous papaya shake that
tasted like my childhood in a metal cup

Dirt in my water and other musings


there is dirt in my water

flecks of

granular nothings swimming in my liquid respite


here where the sky meets

waves of heat

dancing towards an orange sun


chalk mixing with the


running down the back of my neck


i’m partial to green


how it colors my calloused fingers


water stains mar a pebbled


complete with dirty lawn chairs


a wooden table upended by

tiny hands

rolls along squared edges


my heart skips when that big orange

cat stalks

up and down a narrow ledge


i can see the inside from here


cross-legged on an old wooden bench


somewhere two dogs bark


yelps that punctuate the air


i point to a sparrow, sidling next to


sitting on a tree branch


we know the sounds a bird makes

i ask

arms out stretched in a flapping motion


and what sound does a monkey make


ooh ooh ooh