LisaAnn LoBasso



UPON A SICK CHILD

She cries because she canít breathe
and now she breathes even less.
She will not eat bananas
tapioca pudding or chocolate
berry-covered cookies.
Only water and grape-stinging medicine.
And he says let her alone,
after my tenth trip to the nursery
to console her pink swollen eyes
and red runny nose.

let her alone.

This is the time she should learn
to go to sleep without her security cup.
Without water.

let her alone.

They have to meet the man at noon,
and my father says Bearó
their Australian Shepherd pupó
has to learn sometime. Heís chained in
105 degrees and knocks the water bowl over
†for the tenth time.
And my parents leave
him without water for an hour,
because he has to learn sometime.
And they return to a beautiful
black and white carcass.
But what was left to do?
They could not keep him in the houseó
he would rotten the air in hours.
And he was too voluptuous
and thick-furred to lie in the weather.
There was nothing left
but to bury him.

let her alone.

She cries because she canít breathe
and now she breathes less.

So last week my father, he ties the Shepherd pup,
Baby Baby, in the blue and white pick-up
and backs it against the fence.
Sheís in heat.
He doesnít want her to mate
and I am to call the vet
to ask the length of inconvenience.
Three weeks she will want and want
and push.
But on the first night he says
let her alone.

let her alone.

And she wants and wants
and thirsts and cries because she cannot
breathe.
And I am glad in the morning,
glad that I am not a man
finding her neck stretched in the chain,
her mouth wide frozen in her cry.
And there is nothing left
but to bury her.

She cries because she cannot breathe.
let her alone.
And now she breathes even less.
let her alone.
And in the morning who
will lift her from the wooden crib
and wipe her crusted nose
and lay a hand across her still chest?
who will bury her?
who will bury us?
because there will be nothing left
except to stuff her small body
tight into the crevice of my breasts,
and press us into the ground
hidden from the weather.





LisaAnn LoBassoís poems, stories and articles have been published in numerous journals. Books in print include In the Swollen a poetry collection (2003), and Oleander Milkshake, forthcoming. LisaAnn lives in California with her husband and two daughters, one a teenager, the other an infant. She is holding on as she does it all over again, poetry in hand.







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