Two Poems

Molly Tenenbaum


Come in chronometer bottoms,
longitude tops, planetarium bottoms,
deep-sea map tops, come in grumble-bunny
and whisker, fahrenheit and comic book,
in far too many, as in No, there's no
too many, in omelette, in filling, as in
Baby, you are my favorite burrito,
my hum-ding, my tugboat, my lambsy-divy.

Come in fermata, in flopsy, in pigtail
and dress-up, in five gaps
too big, as in No, there's no
too baggy but vast, in horizons
like slippers, no, slippers
like clouds, in Lou, as in Skip To, and in
fertility, as in Who knows,
since I've always been careful,
if I am or ever was.

Come in veigle, in folly, and this
is fidelity, same as a dog's name, in chomping
a rubber bone, pawing and circling, as in No, no
such thing as three times in one place, in a fog,
in all figs, in the thrill a boy feels
at his first backhoe sighting.

Come in Besides,
we have almond croissants, as in Sorry
I can't feel our hell-in-a-handbasket
sway first thing in the morning,
I and my flannel jumping beans
already out on our epicycle, I and my puppies
yipping blue-pink, as in pink-blue
and squirreling, as in Where is it,
Around here somewhere, my cache, my chestnut,
my This little piggy goes lub-dub,
lub-dub, all the way home.


Come in their prime,
come in gingham and britches,
in ear, as in flying, in perk,
in profile, in tips, as in shark fins
zooming on top of the shrubbery.

Come in lonely, as in No one to fox me.
In Those Were the Days, in vaudeville, in schtick,
in my signature hop-twitch. Come in Gran and Grampy
shuffling Hello Dolly, in has-been, as in old pony,
as in my current position, to crouch for the kids with the carrots.

Come in for real, as in pushed
from the car to the verge, in forgetting
there was, was there, once,
a glass tube whose tip shivered water.
In Wait, is there more, as in Oh, the occasional
lettuce, but Who do they think I am, as in Don't they remember
back when Miss Moon lived next door, when creatures and people
all spoke the same language?

Come in Where's my shovel, my hoe, my handy illustrator?
My wiggle, my wag, my puppet manipulator?
In You be Wolf, No you, No I'll be Briar Patch,
as in Why won't that trick work, as in aphasia,
in What is a Greenbelt, what's for lunch,
as in which is prettier, leafage or dirt,
as in the latest police report: I've been seen
across three busy streets, and far
as the drugstore parking lot.

Come in character, Big Gray, Patchy, each with a prop,
suspenders and specs, come in red vest or apron,
in six little Rabs, their bookbags all tidy, in caps, in bonnets,
and there's our brave Peter, straw hat and a whoop,
and a whoop, as in circus, in tumble, as in Who can tell
fun from flummox, as in it's impossible,
after all, to nibble a carrot quite down
to the kid's quick thumb.

Molly Tenenbaum

Molly Tenenbaum's book: By a Thread. Her chapbooks: Blue Willow, Old Voile, and Story. Her banjo CD: Instead of a Pony. Home: Seattle. Work: teaching banjo in the living room, and English at North Seattle Community College. Current curiosity: ventriloquism.