Postmodern Cradle Song


He was a matchbox strike patch
She was moonlight, white as glue
They were a jar of marbles
We never knew what to do

Slim was a beer-soaked coaster
Mom had the sting of a bee
John read a plain white page
We never knew how to see

Spike had a hand like an ice pick
Dad caught his thumb in a vise
The mayor got sick at our picnic
We didn’t have time to be nice

The judge was a handsome potter
God hadn’t learned how to sew
The sky came apart like old curtains
We lay on our backs in the snow

The fish sang a song for our sister
The pirates were all disarrayed
A bomb blew a hole in the courtyard
We hardened ourselves in the flames


—winner of the Editor’s Prize in Poetry for issue 29