Poems by Abe Louise Young

Torn Screens

Ninth Ward Jazz

Feminesto: dialogue


Torn Screens

Show us the palimpsest of red & purple sky:
blue stacks of flare off and on
above the trees. Incinerators
are forever stitching torn stockings to the skyline.

My mother is home with one breast, almost
sleepwalking. A cardinal pecks
at a nest; the bag of birdseed molds,
& moves to the other side
of the laundry room by sheer gyrations
of maggots. Sorry-
I know nothing; can’t laugh back.

Three decades
of mercury, burning batteries, falling ash
& all the plastic mysteries compacted into trash-

We sit inside, eat General Tsao’s Chicken dripping
with syrup. Talk feral cats. Her sternum’s purple
& black. Her teeth are good, the crowns
are hanging on, though someone stole
her eyelashes.
Better have a baby
quick. Crazy laugh. And then she cries: her voice
is two tones deeper, dry, with the rattle of a hammer
dropped a long way down
the well.

Twenty years ago we caught rabbits
in the swamp that’s since turned iridescent green,
roped off with caution tape.
Somebody wrote a petition.

The porch is falling down
& once was screened
against mosquitoes but the screens got torn & now
are curtains sliced open in a swag, night theater.
I kiss her cheek and hold her hand.
We radiate together.

Published in Hawaii Review