Was I so small and contained, small to together
with younger sister Julie, contained to swim,
sunlit, shore to shore, across the ocean
of a washtub filled with water? Swimsuits,
summer trips to Thayer Missouri, grandparents’
farmhouse, from the picnic table, mother
and father cackle. Adulthood and its ulterior
motives, I tried very hard to stay boyside
the wrecks of men. When migraines mauled my skull,
my mother lay beside me and held a cool cloth
against my forehead. Is there healing in hints
of being loved, or in the brute physics of blood vessels?
Summer hammock eases in aching fists of rope.
Bathroom sink, a porcelain coffee cup
contained my grandfather’s braying set of teeth.


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