Michael Graber

Paris, Tennessee
Late that wet April Mom flew
out the backdoor, dress full
of steam like a lover in Chagall.

I followed the fragments
her shadow cast down through
the trees like specks of dust,

spied as she rooted herself
in the lumpy mattress of a trailer
park painter. He breathed loudly

in her ear: "I paint with my pecker."
Then shaved and stretched the goatskin
canvas he prepared from his pet,

and served the meat roasted as a snack.
Portrait finished, she cradled the piece
by the hairy edges over the threshold

of the prefab door. The grass
went flat under her feet, weighed down
by this rural Lautrec of her eating

roses. Still wet, the paint dripped
like blood. Showgirl-giddy, I swayed,
her son, her own confused creation.

Copyright 1999, Michael Graber

Michael Graber works as a  professional editor in his native Memphis, but moonlights as an instructor of Lit and CW at the University of Memphis, a poetry reviewer for the Commercial Appeal, and as a vaudeville, old-time, country blues mandolin/guitar/kazoo player. He's published verse, songs, plays, creative non-fiction, reviews, and interviews. Work is
forthcoming in the Spoon River Poetry Review, and on-line at Crania, among other places.

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