Rich Ives

You Don't Really Know Me, Do I?

We meet at a penalty kick in some game I didn't know I was playing
where one of the goals is a continuous interference of stuffed objects

and you are still so so bright bananas and chocolate and screaming
Go Go Go, but not with your personal more complex chocolate

while I remain threaded and paint with subtle dripping
that does as much irresistible damage as used to be obvious.

You're like the head of a toilet plunger disguised as
a truckload of leaky baseballs. Moony like that, but

you don't seem to mind the blackbirds in my hair,
only everyone searching for the eggs they burbled from.

I like you a lot, so I stick my fingers in your mouth.
Personally, I blame milk, but not my mother's.

We have some courageous mystic trouble consistent with
dull doll amulets fluttering from the mother's belt.

Such likable tortured saints they are, the flat-chested,
but you're not the mother, so we're okay for a while.

Truth is, I'm older now. I shouldn't be like this. I shouldn't be
spooning chocolate-covered morning swans or inventing

kind-hearted bully prods or mastering shoestrings
for the better-adapted and discretely elusive damned future.

I know better than what I am now, don't I? I'm experienced
with what I could have been and no longer miss it.

And by this time I like you more, so I fog your glasses and spit
suggestively and tease you about puberty, which, of course,

you hardly remember. So we test it and fall somewhere
in between tortured ecstasy and delightful paper bag lunches.

We still have to work, so we reinvent childhood and live there
part-time, with the clichéd but faithful swan interviewer,

who seems to think we're one person and complicates stories
we tell in pond therapy with our mouths full of fingers.

Personally, I thank milk, but not my mother's. It's no longer
good for me in any obvious way but fascinates the fluid fingers.

So I squeeze the digits into my equally temporary wallet and spend freely
though I'm no longer of a reasonable age for hidden fatherhood.

The leaky little baseballs are the best bullies ever, and I generously finger them,
which is a delightfully furry tool for release and unplugs the game garden.

Now you can go on without me. Now you can mumble swans
and be faithful to cheerleaders and charming ulterior ponds of your own.

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