December 10, 2017

Three Poems by Ellae Lawton: "Blue Buffalo Chicken Bites Dog," "Cry of a Preschool Shooter," and "To a Great-Granduncle on"

Born a Hoosier, editor and English professor emerita Ellae Lawton has lived and worked in Manhattan and Florida and now lives near her daughter in southeastern North Carolina. Some of her poems have appeared in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Referential, Wild Goose Poetry Review, Iodine Poetry Journal, and When Women Waken.

Fowlish rimes on an Amazon lead:

“Blue Buffalo Chicken Bites Dog...”

The meaty lead-in conjures a horned cobalt
cockerel with crooked camelish hump
munching hairy haunch of an Irish setter--

but shouldn’t that be an effusive Kerry Blue
chomping a wishbone of Rhode Island Red
instead? Wouldn’t that sound better?

But no–Blue Buffalo Chicken Bites Dog.
Through a cerulean fog I see a sapphire Cochin
stropping his beak to pluck in the shaggy mane
of a spaniel named Daniel. It must be plain

he’s fishing for fleas. Yet Daniel yips
as if these nips rip worse than grooming;
then small red blots start blooming, pips
like chicken pox on his honey coat. Insane,

but under a pinoak a cornflower Plymouth Rock
charges a monstrous snoring Great Dane,
clamps onto juddering dog jowl. Hound-yowl
and sudden vertical leap in a vain

attempt to escape his pain leave brave blue
chicken dangling, snagged on dog’s sable lip,
and before hen can flap wing and flip,
Dane darts huge red tongue out askew

and upends the tale for a stew:
Dog Bites Chicken Buffalo Blue.

Cry of a Preschool Shooter

I don’t know where Mommy went.
Daddy says Heaven. Why her face
go red Bang came out of toy I found
hurt my hand made me cry
Mommy didn’t come.
Red on her face on floor too
she fell down. Daddy came
made awful noise picked me up
took me to neighbors.

People took Mommy. away
on a bed. I want her back. Daddy does
too. Aunt Susie brings dinner cries.
doesn’t cook like Mommy.

Daddy says I didn’t mean to, I
don’t know mean to what. He sits
a lot doesn’t say anything but
gets very mad yells shut up when
Uncle says secomemmen rights.

I miss Mommy holding me reading to me.
Daddy cries when he puts me in bed,
God-blesses me and Mommy and a baby
sister I don’t know. I want my Mommy.

To a Childless Great-Granduncle

Why should it matter
that, finding you alone
in your grave on a website,
I should restore to you
out somewhere in space
your long-dead wife,
your parents and siblings?
I barely remember you.

Why should it matter
that I reunite your mother
with the babe she left
for her daughter to raise–
raise with my grandmother,
born the same year?
--three ladies I never met.

Still, imagination journeys,
feels unbearable pain
of mother torn from young.

Her daughter is five feet tall.
She lets one warm tear fall
on the head of one sucking babe,
tucks both in the cherrywood
cradle her pioneer father carved
for her rest nineteen years ago,
does up her bodice buttons,
goes out to catch a pullet
to boil with dumplings, herding
her two small sons before her.
She will launch seven more lives
her mother will never see

I have her height and bird-bones,
but what have I ever done
to equal that?

Ancestral names,
graven in cyber space:
I’ve done what I could
for them. They did what
they could for me
bequeathed me odd genes.

Why should it matter
that I connect faint
stars in familial galaxies
unless we’ll all meet
some day?

Ellae Lawton

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