August 19, 2011

Auburn Blood

  I keep sleeping on my blood-stained pillowcase. Even the pillow inside I have not tossed away – even that I have kept because the blood is from the worst injury I have had in years (knock on something), and it was to my head. I have slept on the historical pillowcase for 47 nights.
  Just before I turn the light off I look again at the stains and smears, drops, and suggestive smudges on the pale green pillowcase. Secretly, I am glad that the pillowcase my head rested on that first night is pale green.
  I looked this morning at the pillowcase. The place on my head still hurts a little and there is a bump, but the last bit of blood leaked out over three weeks ago from where the scab had clung, even as tiny hairs tried to grow through it.
  This morning it is time again to dye my hair. It was due about the time I fell on the asphalt.
    Miss Linda, I gotcha, I’m not gonna
    leave, Miss Linda,”
said a stranger named Sonny,
    who held my hand until the ambulance came.
    I could hear my friend behind me say to 911
    "There is so much blood,
    there’s blood all over.”
    Sonny said, “Don’t worry, Miss Linda,
    I ain’t goin’ nowhere, I gotcha.”
  As the gurney rose into the air, I looked at the asphalt. There’s blood all over, so much blood.
  My head was cauterized and glued after hair was cut off. Now it is healed and the glue has come out and the scabs have come off, and my hair was cut last week. I'll dye it redbrown -- one auburn or another – whatever is on sale.
  With the color mixed I squirt it on my hair. At first it is deep purply red, like blood from your liver or some other dark innard which hides blood. It drips on my face, my neck, one drip rolls down my chest and stops at a nipple. With plastic gloves, I hold a hand mirror, and see a niagara of purply red pouring down my neck.
  I wipe that off, and even as I do the color begins to turn auburn. Auburn more and more like blood.
  Now I am redheaded again, and I will be more careful. Tonight I will sleep once more on the bloodstained pillowcase; a little dye might rub off.

Dog Days of Wisdom

The dog days of wisdom speak with barking voices
  and small growls of jealous appetite.
They lick my mother-hand -- or bite;
  They whir like needledragonflies, hovering clouds
Over hot dogs restless in the moving shade,
  Bothering those driven by heat to
  worry at beggars' lice or imaginary fleas or
  The broken stick from next door's tree --
  Dropping it, pausing, and chewing the end again.
All will settle down when cooler days
  point toward Autumn.