Robert Rorabeck

Bronze Star - 2,193 Points (04/10/1978 / Berrien Springs)

The Little Things That Can Almost Kill - Poem by Robert Rorabeck

Tonight feeling the tiny coral snake’s gargantuan breath
Seething like bobby pins underneath the unearthed titanic:
That thing called sky or like a witch’s spell
Unspecified; and it almost seemed real, the way she was
Stepping out of the trailer and down the cinder blocks
And into the trailer parks where he waited with her daughter:
Or with her son-
The flairs of open roads that killed all of the libraries,
And the infantile tombs that sprung up like weeds:
Her eyes were as blue as the death sleeping in the clitoris
Of wildflowers;
And you know what I mean, because you’ve traveled up and
Down the spine of the Mississippi calling out my depths beneath
The arches and burial mounds;
And I’ve forgotten all the things that pretended that they couldn’t
You mother and father had a nursery and a house that never slept,
Until they separated and tore you in two with your monthly paper cuts
Down those weary steps:
Your toenails painted for the saints of Christmas, and all of my mouthing-offs failing you, drawn like insipid water from the venal wishing well:
There sleep the snakes in wonderful balls, reflecting in the light from
Your pail carried close to your chest;
As if they were there now, whispering like animated pictographs
Never forgetting to let off gossiping of all the little things that
Can almost kill.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, February 15, 2010

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