George PerrouThe Gathering (acrylic on canvas)

after A.A. Milne

heliotrope the headlights shined
through our groggy eyelids
winced against the pre-dawn
fog an hour before burning
off as mother carried bones
our bones the little drooping
frowns we made across
her arms until she gave
us to the bench seat sister
do you remember her Skylark
purring through Marlboro
Square the rumble-growl
of grandmother’s gravel
driveway beneath our backs
and how ascending
in another’s arms we found
the country of ourselves
stretched upon the cottage-
covered comforter the bitter
kettle’s coffee cursive
through the rafters peeking
through slits did you mark
her the shadow that made us
disappearing down the throat
of our dreaming to open Giant
Food though no one waited
on the sidewalk twirling
their exhalations no one
needed cumin coconut
frozen meatballs no one
needed shimmered aisles
waxed like bowling lanes
but mother your mother
and mine drug her migraines
her quarter-tanks of gas
because the store key hung
around her neck icy
on our faces when she bent
to give us to the room where
when she was very young
around her sister’s trembling
waist she laced her arms
in case some dragon came


Adam Tavel