We were all afraid
of mother's paintings
the period where all the
canvases were square and
everything was sky.
Anxiety was in the lines
of our texts at school
and our sandwiches
crushed flat. At home,
our sheets were nailed
to the walls, so we
played in the train-yard.
The plants wilted.
Even the animals hid.
Certain Humans Are Situations
My brother shaves his head
to hide his balding.
He is a two-by-four and looks the part.
His fascination with the south,
is breaking him like the city we grew up in.
One time an aunt's funeral was cancelled
and we were relieved.
We never had a funeral for his dog
he shot either.
He has two daughters,
the one in Kentucky and the one in Japan.
He has raised me since with less distance.
His truck that taught me to drive stick
but only in reverse,
is my new car.
I do these things to relive living in his small house:
smelling men's clothes when they aren't looking,
sleeping with his friends,
writing poems on grocery receipts.
My mother says he is waiting
for me to grow up so he can marry me
says he raised me to be the perfect woman.
Violet Hopkins teaches an Introduction to Poetry workshop at the University of Arizona and is the Tucson High Magnet School Poet-In-Residence. Currently, she is working on her Master's in Creative Writing. Some of her poems have been published in Scheme.
Copyright 2005 Violet Hopkins.