Deanna Pickard's poems have appeared in Poetry, Antioch Review, River Styx, Crazyhorse, New England Review, The New Republic, and other journals. She has been the recipient of two Ohio Arts Individual Artist Fellowships and two Montgomery County Individual Artists Fellowships. In Dreams We Kiss Ourselves Good-bye will be published by Luquer Street Press this summer.
The Fixing of Dreams
Where is my aunt who whispers
by the window all day, an echo
in a white room. Hello,
when will you visit again?
Where is she who trusted
her infant sons to the frail arms of a girl?
I studied her breasts
as she jeweled herself, then painted
her lips dark as her hair.
She ignored my intrusions into her perfume,
imitations left on a young girl's wrist.
I pumped and pumped the player piano
to calm her stair-step boys,
taught them to sing
St. James Infirmary.
Last night I sat at her table,
her four sons like marigolds circling
a spring-green cloth, breathing
the peculiar scent of mystery trees,
curious spices, her sweet babies,
and the damp basement.
My father opens the kitchen door,
smiles. He has not drowned yet.
He is wearing his Stetson and black coat,
explaining how he lost his boat
but found his way back to this warm house.
He pulls up a chair, butters his bread
and we all laugh as he says, It's not over
until it's over. In this strange place
a radio drones. There are
home run cheers, the full feeling
of a Sunday afternoon, the clinking
of forks on dinner plates.
The Question of Marriage