When The Doc Had Tears and Expectant
by Kimberly D Tucker
Sunday, December 08, 2002
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THE DAY THE DOCTOR
HAD TEARS IN HIS EYES
(c) kimberly tucker
a stretch of cool water
bare silk sandbank
of the snapper
waiting open-mouthed in muck
at the bottom of the lake
tepid thoughts of
shared warm southern climes
into holes sensing
a monster so ominous
it'd pull a bison off its feet
a stench akin to
harpooned whale carcasses on
a taste like meat that has begun to rot
wish that we
were crocodylidae of
and scaly, waterproof-ed skin
and not mere vessels sailing quite hu-man
between the mainland and madagascar
of red-bellied piranhas
coral builds up on a sunken ship
Alfred Nobel invented dynamite
then left money for the
there's a ray of hope in the doctor's eyes
(c)by kimberly tucker
written circa age 16
Comforters, afghan and sheet are let fall
from the Imagist rising
this afternoon's winter.
White bureau's mirror, streaked
and draped with necklaces
with upturned chin
Cold-boned blue-veined hands
are free verse raking
with the brush antique
purchased from the Isle Of Clearance...
till they shine, curl at the split ends, and rise from static.
Tonight she will play with the
patterns and rhythms of common speech.
Her goal's the wrinkliest
brain yet, the more the merrier, night school's free.
Miss Bouveau, typing teacher sprite, before the showing-
once held the poet's own
hands warmly in hers and made known
aloud to all of the class anear to hear that
they possessed long tapered fingers of the kind
"...with good reach Kim, if you choose to play piano one day..."
Then as now, the expectant writer
turned her hands in the air seeing nay
the pigment there but rather
all that they might do and she stared then
into Miss Bouveau's brown eyes
until she winked and walked away. Today
for chenille cocoon robe,
sash tied securely in a bow
across the bulk of stretched belly where the button protrudes.
Robe chilled from its place on the door
that hides the rattic
where it slumbered sentinel
on its iron finger hook in drafty quarters.
The parents and boyfriend (with strong work ethics)
are drawn when night is brisk and chill
to orange heat that's fake.
Around quartz heaters they forsake the
blankets but not she-those gadgets fuzz her head.
Olde layers of cloth, batted thick,
overworn, are cozier to her than electric
Almond blossoms fill her head.
With fragrant thoughts she flutters
dizzy room to room in slippers
worn to bed. The "Study At Home" assignment is due
to be typed on the 'tag sale find' and sent through
the mailways to the greyed instructor who
offers constructive criticism, wisdom, experience and praise.
The teacher's price is met; they've found a way
to send the payments monthly
and never past due date.
Refrigerator's dead womb gets a pat.
A token of appreciation and respect.
She never took its life for granted. In a
black snakelike pile, its
umbilical cord lays useless coiled,
long out of the socket that gave it life.
Deep breath and she descends
thirteen stairs mumbling
"...thanks for the snow...more than You know...thanks for the
Milk, somewhat iced's
retrieved reliably from
the aluminum bucket; functional, rusted-
that in the summer held
her mother's tulips and now just holds below
in sand beneath the snow
their bulbs in waiting there just so
beside the concrete porch's steps.
With loud protests the hacking emphysemic kitchen
into the whistler kettle bursts of water.
Instant coffee crystals await their
melting in the chipped mug useful
as any potter's fine hewn piece-
the insurance company slogan
wrapped round its yellow form.
Before the whistle beckons pouring,
time is wisely played: words spiral
from the skipping Bic like cake frosting. She writes
of the almond trees' pale pink blossoms with the bluest
of blue ink. Of those trees that
blossom quite in sync with the awaited
return in Capistrano
of the hordes of inky swallows.
"...and amn't I," her pen asks paper,
"my own amen corner? At sixteen, are not my alpha and omega
as far from me as predictability?
I'm somewhat in the middle and what's more
if an angstrom of madwort or alyssum could cure this madness
to write, well then
I'd have none of it!"
Alarm whistles from the stovetop where at night
mice play across its cold burners. Hot
exaggerations of steam are pushed into chill air, screaming,
'i am hot now! warm yer innards!'
She does. The milk, she decides, can rest
uncapped on the faux grey
marble tabletop of the white swirls great for tracing
with thoughtful fingers ---and when she's partaken
in hot drink and then savored a second fill,
and blood sugar has begun to rise from bread and fruit consumed
trek outside and put the milk home.
And not until.
From one hemisphere of her brain to the other
her thoughts switch over. Caffeinatedly alert now,
the realist side reminds her
of the boy she loves and her father
who toil gloomily at the factory
with girlie posters for wallpaper
assembling ship parts. She has to wonder
if she should've spent the summer
before last, with the guys, her friends, every night you bet
in the trailer up the road, now overgrown
with weeds, letting herself out periodically
under the moonlight to puke beer into the cornfield. And
she and the boy at the end
of the following summer she remembers walked
stealthily the same cornfield and nearby farmer's garden
(but it seemed alright) stuffing corn ears
and potatoes from the mounds
her maternity pants with the same moon
for a silent accomplice. Tonight the calloused fingers of the men
will trace the swirls
and weigh importance of
not the moon they hardly notice but
a forty minute drive
to work a half a day
a couple days a week
with lay-offs promised soon
and little more than minimum wages.
How much to keep in-pocket?
For bread and gas and milk?
She's thankful no one drinks.
Those damned miniature skyscrapers won a debate
over a load of oil and so were retrieved with haste
dusty from the rattic playroom where they were stored
just in case
after finding them, among other things,
like the Royal typewriter-
at Mr. Bead's widower's tag sale last Spring.
A new used refrigerator! is circled she sees.
Or will a new used stove with an oven
that really heats be determined the greater of needs?
with the skipping Bic
and the Imagist is back
to seeing details...
The pills, first fondled
are gregariously gulped and pellets
of lead they may as well be, not iron at all-washed down the
with thick white crystals, once milk. Now streaked with tan
from the remnants in the mug where shakily milk was run.
One cool swipe of purposeful fingers
bread crumbs to the floor but upends
the quart in the process.
The jug is righted
too late to be saved. Little milk remains. Anemic
responses aren't to be trusted. Suzy
the poodle and Princess the rescued are quick to lick. 'Thanks
The writer steadies for an unplanned rising
for the towel. Tears rise too.
Neither fall. Soiling too much today
means a load of wash not counted on. Hot water
may run low.
Or not at all.
The kindred dusty phone reminds her
in a glance
they'll be no calling
the teen mother whom she sits beside
at night school hearing tales of childbirth.
Silent ringless decoration now but
they say they'll find a way before
"Kimmy's time comes" for it to ring again full-paid
there's the bowling alley pay phone at the foot of the hill
providing there's pocket change and gas in the car and it hasn't
thrown a rod or had a blow-out or
plain up and quit by then.
Already she thinks of mac. and cheese secreted
by her mother from the cafeteria and what a
splendid surprise that would be today but wait
the realist side reminds with anger come the summer
lunch ladies laid off don't qualify for unemployment wages
but hey! For now perhaps they'll use her pay-
consider oil over quartz? She'll bring it up today.
Swabbing milk puddles
from the patterned linoleum
her cloth dabs up
crumbs too- a travesty as sad
as spilt milk. She wanted the crumbs left for the
who dare run the green and orange kitchen at night
while she sits like a sphynx in the dark,
her feet up on the chair, smiling, holding the button in the off
position until there!
eyes adjusted, she sees the skin of an onion examined
with tiny elflike hands. Yes, this is high fine entertainment
after night school.
While they sleep. Before she writes...
the flashlight and then
sees the elongated face (of course she'd known they were rats)
of the mouse
accepting, unstartled, his nocturnal friend.
Tonight if the cupboards are bare
she and her mother will gather the staples,
shake a little of this and that into their palms,
and if it doesn't crawl away it will go in
to the fare
fit to pass as edible and she will give thanks.
They will eat as they have before.
Tonight they can sleep
in their rooms with quartz heat
around fake orange glow up the middle of them
like little rectangular windows
in a city postcard.
She will pile comforters and afghans again
and sheet atop herself
and until three or so of the next coming morn
she will play with the patterns and rhythms of common speech.
Then sleep till noon.
Two poems, When The Doc Had Tears, and also EXPECTANT. Both are very different. One is supposed to be published, and Expectant has been and is backlogged somewhere online. Online publishing definitely counts!