UNDERGROUND VOICES: POETRY
The Beer Garden
The night before he died she danced
in a lesbian meet market on Vliet Street
with a homo. She drove away from men,
in her silver Chevette, like a lead
goose disappears from a chevron
for no apparent reason, except
a bullet. At that hour, when a phone
call meant one thing, her sister
said, Maybe — you should come home.
The reservation line was busy, so she
drove to Billy Mitchell Airport;
reserved her seat at the counter.
But she was so drunk the next morning
she missed her flight and almost his.
Twelve hours later, wearing a blue
tee with ‘Hawaii’ quilted in gingham
on her chest, she trebled, “Hi, daddy?”
Shoulders accordioned; wheezy, she
held her whistling breath. He asked
for a cigarette, but she was fresh
out of Tareytons and their fight.
Go home, he said, as if he hadn’t been
calling for her, or asked where is she?
my last leaf? So she left Symmes
Hospital the night he died — Christmas
Eve. All the lights blinked; something
was in her eyes — like Rudolph’s,
before he realized he was
the most important reindeer.
Father Christmas Past
I wonder if you wish for a do-over —
a remake of your take on Christmas past?
I wonder if you shun Seagram’s,
favor sight; if your Holy Night recalls
chalk, children shrieking blackboard
fright or has God swept your tears —
given vision to celebrate Santa
and Savior not forgetting who gave
you what or when? I wonder if you
hope I’ll try Christmas, again
with you — eviscerated cinder block,
crumbles on my joyless calendar —
your face all chimney. I wonder
if shots still make you happy, or if
you know — thirty, or two thousand
years ago — do not erase Christmas past.
Not for me, not for your guilty ellipsis.
Margot Brown was born and raised in Massachusetts. She migrated to the Midwest as a young adult and compensates for missing the ocean by putting too much salt on her food. She lives in Northern Illinois with a Hurricane Katrina evacuee, Miss Kitty, and her husband, Michael Morrison. Margot's poems have appeared in joyful!, The Shine Journal, The Boston Literary Magazine, The Toronto Quarterly Magazine, The Linnet's Wings (U.K.), Flutter Poetry Journal, and Interrobang?! Zine, among other publications.
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