Two Poems

Her Brother’s Neck of the Woods

A hammer hits just under
the wood nail’s broad head. The smashed morass
of pain drops, throbs less with months

and what’s left is a thumbhouse,
an inch of gristle inside
windowless skin walls, a ridged roof of keratin.


*


She returns late, discovers him
sprawled on the rag rug, sees


the thumbhouse digit and its neighbors
plunge into an undersized bag of crispy
rinds. Its fraternal twin


smoothes the creased gutter
of the Compact Cabins manual. Engrossed
in flat prose, he barely registers her presence.


Arkansas keeps its own close,
a possum bent on shelter,
intentional snout, scurrying back.


“Does it get easier over time,” she asks,
“using that thumb?”


“No overtime in my line, Sister.
You build it ’til it’s done.”


Mother and Son at Home, Mérida, Venezuela

Among his Lego blocks
scattered on a patio,
fingerlings flash and dart,

regroup, then snap miniscule
red and blue scutes onto the back
of an armored titanosaur, a giant herbivore


who would not swap the constant spring
of Mérida’s valley, the sparkling shallows
hung with afternoon shadows


for the snowcapped
Espejo, Bonpland, Bolívar, and Humboldt,


ceramic bowls turned upside
down. He shivers at the thought.


“Mijo, do you have to finish the creature
outside?”


“Mamá, it’s nearly alive.”
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