Driving on the Massachusetts
Turnpike, I thought about you and
your love affair with junk food.
I saw golden arches, swerved,
steered my car into
a McDonald’s parking lot.
I ordered an Egg McMuffin
slick with bacon, American
cheese, and thought about how
we shared that tartuffo, last night
in the North End, how you slid
your hand, bangled with bracelets,
under the table, squeezed my thigh.
You ordered the Shrimp Gamberi,
ripe with plum tomatoes, chopped
parsley. You told me in Australia
shrimp were called prawns. You
asked me if they were called
this in America and I said
only in Chinese restaurants.
MY SON, AT FOUR
You could not sleep without it,
the whirl, recycled air.
It was a bedtime routine;
teeth brushed, story told,
lights out, fan on.
As a newborn, we left you
vibrating on the dryer, placed
you in a battery-operated swing,
drove you around the block
in your car seat as we acquainted
ourselves with the neighbors,
local road signs, varieties
At one, you swapped the dryer
for the tactility of buttons;
plastic, metal, wood. At two,
the lullaby song on the swing
stopped playing and by three
you invented your own road signs.
At four the fan has stayed with you.
The motor’s belt is wearing thin.
Dust gathers in the vents; we fear
fire. The fan must go.
Outside the highway buzzes,
my husband’s breathing becomes
inhuman. I cannot release my body
to sleep. The sheets rustle.
fiction poetry "fact" photography