Julie Ovary Song

posted Jun 2, 2005

The Sandhill Cranes carroo and shadow over
highchair and crib, the baby's room
a giddy shivering blue. The bolt

that bores a hole through the center slips down
the throat. I rear from the ground with this
burned down tenement for a hat I wear

bruise circles around my love's eyes. Sundown,
this flaming beard on the water pulls itself
away from us while my wife's hand

reaches to tug by that beard, our Father, closer.
Cool Lake Daddy, are these waters your
kiss? Are tumors bells

and will our bones rot like so many roots?
The cannonballs I attach to her ankles
do me no good. The balloon

under her lungs blows up and she floats away
without me. My mouth sounds so rusty when I say,
I'm leaving for work.

My little saltshaker rattles in the dark.
One deep kiss by the door, then she flickers
our porch light dizzy, her light on

the outside of the flesh. I windmill my window down,
my lips out in the cool as her cry
washes the hill:

I love you dude. Be careful dude.


Listen to my bird in the bathtub splashing
and singing old sitcom tunes. It's the Mash
theme song tonight, only with words

like, "I l-o-v-e my d-u-d-e.
I l-o-v-e my d-u-d-e..."
splash splash, sing sing.

I scratch the door and open it a crack,
see those brown eyes through the steam,
the way her head nods its surrender

to one side. Morning walks where
the wind hits my scarecrow on a stick
straw flying everywhere from her sleeves

and from her neck where I knot a scarf
tight to lock it in. See her mitten waving,
Bye bye my Johnny,

when I follow her out in my socks, her ashy
autumn way she rises above our hill,
something like sawdust

blown off her layers. She's disintegrating,
flaking down to elemental, no blood boot
solid to moor her to this world.

Why not just say, my love may be dying?
Because, I want you to drown with me.

John Rybicki's poems and stories have appeared in Poetry, TriQuarterly, Bomb, 5-trope, North American Review, and other publications. He travels the land teaching children and adults alike about the holiness of a sentence. His first book of poems, Traveling at High Speeds, went into second edition last fall. He also has a chapbook, Yellow-Haired Girl with Spider.

He lives in the land of the leaping frogs with his wife and son.