poems by Rena J. Mosteirin

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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Holiday Makers

1: Naturalia

The man in our subway car sings
in a language I forgot, but I know the song
is about love. I respond in four hundred year old German
separated and moved into the mountains. My mouth fills with
the acrid smoke of having
but being afraid to give.

He wore a hospital bracelet and danced mambo.
Maybe he is a distant cousin. In another turn
he could be the one giving
and I the escapee from the hospital.

I went looking for you
in the wrong place, where I found you once.
Any of the people here could have been you.
Wrong face. I mean, wrong grace. Not enough haircut.

Look for me. I'm the little girl in the patent leather
shoes and a white rabbit fur coat. The homeless man
called me Little Baby Angel.
The passersby agree.

2: Scientifica

On the third floor, in the shower, a skinny white cottontail
with a shaved head sings Frank Sinatra.
He is not a fascist, but he looks like one.
Except when my mother dresses him for Easter:
patent leather shoes and a white rabbit fur coat.

Deodorant; Toothbrush; Toothpaste; Razor;
shaving cream gets me in trouble. Cabbage whites
fly through the scene. At art museums I get yelled at
for touching—NO TOUCHING!—

but at CVS I can touch
whatever I want. Curiosities. Gassed in jars
and sprayed with preservatives and stuck with pins:
excuse me—don’t hug that—excuse me.

3: Artificialia

On the second floor my mother is singing
a praise song. Practicing for Easter. Church.
Patent leather shoes and a white rabbit fur coat.

When she says the word "Parisian" she pushes
back the honey-colored bob she carefully wears.
"Holiday makers," she says. "The beach as boulevard."

The song and dance man on the train
is from Cuba. Unmistakable accent.
I give him three dollars and he calls me a name
I haven't heard since I was his most beloved child.

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