Saturday, May 5, 2018

4 1/2 by Tracy K. Smith

4 1/2

Morning finds her curled like a prawn
Around a stuffed blue Pegasus, or the smallest
Prawn-pink lion. Or else she's barging
Into my room, and leaning in close so
It's her hair I wake to—that coarse, dark
Heaven of knots and purple fluff. And
She's hungry, but first she has to pee—
"Pee! Pee!" she sings, hopping in place, trying
To staunch off the wild ravenous river
She carries, until I'm awake for real, saying
"Go! Go! Hurry before you wet the floor!"
And then she tries, and succeeds, or else stands
Bereft, relieved, as a pool trickles out
Around her feet. She's like an island
Made of rock, with one lone tree at the top
Of the only mountain. She's like the sole
Incongruous goat tethered to the tree,
Smiling almost as you approach, scraping
The ground with its horns, and then—
Lickety split—lurching hard, daring
The rope to snap. She's hungry. She wants
"Bread, toasted, with no skin." And enough butter
To write her name in. Or a bowl of cereal ("But
Not the noisy kind"). She wants a movie, or maybe
Just the tussle of her will against mine,
That scrape and crack. Horn on rock. Rope
Relenting one fiber at a time. "I want that," she says,
Punctuating what she just said she wanted.


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