Design Flaws

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I wish I were different
a more gifted mother
who could crack the world wide
for my tremble fingered children
their hands not designed for a lifetime
of tumbling standard locks

Instead I am just this
remedial version mother
well-intentioned
and tremble hearted
not optimally designed for a lifetime
that demands single-touch cures and water walking

July 2015
Julie Ayers

inevitable as green

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morph it
use a wrench
and monkey it
to sloth
or dove
let it sleep
tucked in
swaddled tightly
under wraps
hoodie up
head down
dig the full six feet
and lower it slowly
or dump it unceremoniously
drive it to the woods
and throw a final bone
for it to chase into the underbrush
speed away

in a week     a month     tomorrow
it will righten
spin back round
and assume its perfect
standard shape
bare
and resurrected
pigeoning home
leaner
and slightly more soiled
catching you at the window
where you’ve been all along
reglazing panes of glass
rather than mortaring stone
waiting
anxious
and covertly hopeful
you’d see it crest again
moving homeward

July 2015
Julie Ayers

maternal

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freshly laundered
folded
wrapped in tissue paper
and sealed in a plastic bag
she’d tucked it
in the back of a cupboard
even though she’d told you
it had disintegrated in the washer

held you as you cried
and handed you a corner of blue
she said she’d managed to salvage
a soft, small piece of comfort
not even large enough
to absorb the falling tears

one day
forty something years later
you open a package she’s sent
filled with odds and ends
she’s clearing out
crocheted doilies
wooden dolls hand painted
by your grandmother
antique pantaloons
and paper-thin, cotton camisoles

between the exquisite scraps
you uncover the blue
of the blanket that swaddled you
full of holes
but mostly whole
worn but still more than enough
much like her love
always there
even when you were certain
it must not exist

May 2015
Julie Ayers

Sonance

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She missed the quiet
not the kind found in forests
but the peace spun from the hum
of tires on pavement
a beat of jump rope
slapping against sidewalk
girlish voices singing in time
laughter drifting through windows
bacon sizzling
to the velvet of Billie Holiday
urging listen
let your heart rest
eased
you belong here

April 2015
Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 30

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Bloodline

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According to my mother
I am a descendent of Mary Queen of Scots
as evidenced by my odd, stunted thumbs
a byproduct of centuries of royal inbreeding
Our family tree also claims
Lady Jane Gray
the tragic Nine Day Queen

And then there is the teenage boy
who fled Scotland to avoid a death warrant
dressed as a girl
Arriving in young America
he sought out George Washington
to plead his case and request employment
Impressed by the boy’s ingenuity and bravery
Washington hired him
eventually making him a trusted aide

If you look at the signatures
on the Declaration of Independence
you’ll find another of my ancestors
on the far left column, second signature down
Lyman Hall, connected by my Cooke clan

What I have inherited
from this rather remarkable lineage
is a propensity towards a life filled
with epic drama and intrigue
and a marked talent
for losing my head

April 2015
Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 29

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