One Winter I Devise a Plan of My Own

The leaves come here to meet, they fall and bump
The fences of a second life, they drop

Like teeth have gone from me; I've tried to stop
Their plan, but they have mounded up like stumps

Along a ploughing field not readied yet.
A neighbor comes to help, but I refuse

His hands, I've waved him back; he goes, confused
At first, but then he stops to watch, forgets

Intentions that he might at first have had.
He smiles as I get right down on my knees,

Pretend I'm searching for a coin or key,
Then jump the biggest mound, and bruise it, bad.

Now they have got to climb back on my trees.
Today I've tricked the captain of the leaves.

The Lime Orchard Woman (New York: Sheep           Meadow, 1988).  Originally in The Journal of Ethnic

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The Arroyo, Sergio, and Me

We went in that arroyo just to cuss
down everything and everyone to mud
at least a hundred times and maybe worse
because we could, just that, because we could

and no one ever said a thing to us,
not even when we screamed for teacher blood
those summer afternoons of
go to hell,
of maim and rape and Claudia and kill.

So boy! was that one heck of a you bet! place,
and what we found there, me and him, was swell,
the swellest, underneath that rotting brace
of railroad bridge: a rounded, solid, dull

and beautiful steel ball the Southern P.,
who'd blow their whistle if they saw you call,
had used for ballast maybe, or bombs--
what do caboose men do when they get bored?

We buried it, cause it was perfect; it
was all we talked about, till we forgot.

Whispering to Fool the Wind (New York: Sheep
        Meadow, 1982).  Originally in
The Little Magazine.

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