Alice George


Orange be merciful: warm my eyelids as I face the low November sun.
And be the grain of sand beneath those lids, turn me furious, make me cry.

Red be hopeful, next year or the next, when you begin
between my young daughter’s legs.

Black be unyielding beneath the ruins in New York, be caves of sadness
even when you are covered with new metal, hold fast, be death.

Yellow be lovely cowardice, the maple leaves flipping madly,
be the desire to be safe, to run from guns.

Purple is a wound so be bruised, be moaning, remind us over and always
the softness of our bodies, our liability, the ease with which we are done for.
Be the popsicle melting in the cancer patient’s hand.

Blue be the sky right before sunset, be ready for stars.
White be the trash color, the nothing color, the color of paper,
of mourning robes, of rice.

Green be glib as the lawns of the rich but also unrepentant, rampant,
smelling of wild onions, be the pleated veils of the Afghan women.

Brown be their eyes beneath, their living eyes, their witness.

My Own Boy

Boys my son’s age are dying in battle or
on streets or fields near their homes

just now as

he digs into his sax solo
practicing upstairs in his room


airplanes may be lifting with bombs in their belly
those bombs and planes carrying my name:

ALICE GEORGE (all caps, harsh) scratched into the metal of those wings

just as

alice george (cursive as seaweed or DNA) loops lazily beneath my son’s skin.

I believe luck should never go unnoticed

all mothers with live sons must stand in its silver flow and
laugh and splash and kiss all available hands

and I suspect every boy is in danger, a danger

the insolent sprawl of his t 4-year-old pride,
his appetite for cheese, obscenity, laughter.

And because I can’t see those other boys
not counting their TV faces

can’t control my government

I try to know my own boy clearly
hold him in my hand
and place him against this darker background.
Like art. Or a torch.

© Alice George