After Eva Hesse’s Oomamaboomba
Here the recorder and its chosen
rhyme – that tune, that ditty. All the mice blind,
the sheep only wanted for their wool. Those troublesome
lyrics not heard.
And the tone block with its grooves – only the well behaved
trusted with its mallet. Only the measured with the bells.
How we shook the maracas! While the lone one stood
with the triangle, waiting for the cue.
Ants in our pants and the crash of the cymbal, later let loose
on the playground to hang from the bars with our wet hair
clinging to our brows. And then later, lying on mats – the refrain
still somehow there, lulling.
And then years later – reclining, song in ear
and the gentle tap on shoulder to rouse.
After Eva Hesse’s Legs of a Walking Ball
Runnels in the sand made with a stick,
with the driftwood hauled from the water.
First time seeing the ocean led to this gentle cultivation
and spinning, and running – a kind of
letting loose. An invitation to not worry
about the cut knee, skinned palms. Sure, buried glass,
its jagged edge, and the injured sole, but never confirmed.
Just rushing and then settling and then rushing again – a kind of
mirroring of the water’s act. Emulation:
for the sandbox and the tiny lake did not compare,
were only practice, as we suspected. Some father called out
yellow, called out red, instead of slow, instead of stop – a kind of
softening of restraint we did not heed
that particular day. Nor sometimes much later.
After Eva Hesse’s Cool Zone
Morning light. Only a memory
of the moon – full, a disk. Talk of werewolves
in the gym, the weights ringing slightly
when set down. Here, carefully, and now
with the rope, jump. Girls knowing
the rhymes, collaborating – trailing
the ends along the floor like the ribbons
on their wands. Later leaping
to spike the ball. Some with bruises
on a forearm, tape on a finger, while
the boys run – swiftly passing. Smooth,
so smooth. Eying from the side.
All the nets strung
and the clock’s face caged.
Kelly R. Samuels
Kelly R. Samuels is a Best of the Net and two-time Pushcart Prize nominee. She is the author of two chapbooks: Words Some of Us Rarely Use (Unsolicited) and Zeena/Zenobia Speaks (Finishing Line). Her poems have appeared in RHINO, Salt Hill, DMQ Review, The Pinch, and Quiddity. She lives in the Upper Midwest. Find her here: https://www.krsamuels.com/
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