YARD ART

 

I accidently knocked over

the Singer sewing machine,

an old black metal one I found

in a junk store.

It sits on my front stoop,

yard art, I call it.

All the neighbors stare walking by,

and only one has asked,

why do you have a sewing machine

on your steps?

Or the neighbor who uses it

in her directions, as in,

go 2 houses past the sewing machine.

But today that 40 lb machine

fell on its side,

and I thought of you,

and what you might be thinking

in these dark days of our republic.

You, who raised me with all your

fiery rhetoric about democracy,

who used a Singer sewing machine

to put food on our table,

and kept sewing even when your

finger got pulled under the needle

and you slowly turned the wheel

and until it came out,

wrapped it with a white cotton strip

the red so bright

as you kept sewing.

Abigail Warren
EAST OF THIRD (Original publication Penmen Review)

 

EAST OF THIRD 

                        (After Corot’s Hagar in the Wilderness)

Ish drives a cab down Eldridge Street
and mutters under his breath as he passes the temple.
He speaks to no one as they enter
and exit his taxi.
After work, he walks Hester and Orchard Street
searches for half smoked cigarette butts
in gutters.
He smells of the city’s incense:
bus fumes, car diesel, smoke. 
Ishmael is the city incandescent.
He scratches his face, beard,
flakes of dead skin
litter his shirt.

When the sun starts its descent
he begins the long walk east and north
up to El Barrio,
if he’s got money he takes the 3rd Avenue bus,
passes Carnegie Hill,
with its bakeries and shops,
croissants, gold baguettes, bagels.
When the weather’s good, like today,
warm, but cool enough not to smell
the city’s summer stench, 
he dreams along the East River
of the father he never had.
He’s thirsty,
thirsty for a life not
prescribed,
his mouth, dry
for light,
for his hapless mother.
He knows jealousy,
that even Corot’s brush of
innocence will not help.

God will listen,
but will his brother?

His body moves through the city’s decades:
the sound of others underfoot,
sidewalks beaten hungry.
Italian, Irish whiskey,
gefilte fish,
Puerto Rican pork and beans,
and Chinese halal.
He climbs the hill
crosses over to 2nd Avenue
stops at the Kitchen for
Moroccan Chorba,
the saffron turns his potatoes and turnips,
golden; the bowl warms him ancient.

He sets out for his mother.
Each block east, the food
begins to disappear
no flower carts,
of roses, orange day lilies, baby’s-breath.
Everyone is wheezing,
an ache in the chest,
the smell of old fires
burns in his lungs,
storefronts for the addicted, 
the sick,
a wasteland of abandoned buildings.

He finds his mother, 
hustling on 125th Street.
Her diabetic feet, yellowed, calloused
too swollen for shoes,
she’s rolling dice with the old men,
lucky seven she prays,
gives him cash if she makes any.
God will provide she tells him,
I’m feeling lucky tonight.

They head up the hill, together.
The wafered sun
slips beneath the horizon
and scattered molecules of light
in the ethered night
let the tired day go.
Sulfuric afterglow
upon their heads.
It’s the blue hour,
even in this city.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abigail Warren
YARD ART (previously published by Drunk Monkeys literary magazine)

YARD ART

 

I accidently knocked over

the Singer sewing machine,

an old black metal one I found

in a junk store.

It sits on my front stoop,

yard art, I call it.

All the neighbors stare walking by,

and only one has asked,

why do you have a sewing machine

on your steps?

Or the neighbor who uses it

in her directions, as in,

go 2 houses past the sewing machine.

But today that 40 lb machine

fell on its side,

and I thought of you,

and what you might be thinking

in these dark days of our republic.

You, who raised me with all your

fiery rhetoric about democracy,

who used a Singer sewing machine

to put food on our table,

and kept sewing even when your

finger got pulled under the needle

and you slowly turned the wheel

and until it came out,

wrapped it with a white cotton strip

the red so bright

as you kept sewing.

Abigail Warren
Summer’s Butter & Sugar
 30th Anniversary Edition of Limestone: Art. Prose. Poetry. Limestone Journal, Department of English, University of Kentucky  https://limestone.as.uky.edu/

30th Anniversary Edition of Limestone: Art. Prose. Poetry. Limestone Journal, Department of English, University of Kentucky https://limestone.as.uky.edu/

I drove down route 9

past Stan’s vegetable stand

and Janet was under a tent awning

selling blueberries, raspberries

and corn, your favorite,

the first of the season.

We never have corn on July 4th,

too early,

but the warm spring changed things.

Without thinking,

I almost turned in -

remembering how you love summer corn -

but why buy it when you’re away?

Away, not gone, just away.

I drove on.

Thinking of the summer you and Joel

had the corn-eating contest,

you won, hands down,

no salt (maybe a little)

not much butter,

just corn, 6 ears.

Abigail Warren