O be Joyful

by Judy Swann
The Waters
Honorable Mention, February 2010
Judged by Dorianne Laux and Joseph Millar


That July, rectangular, he crept backwards.
He loved the mats of purslane on August
earth, where he lay his face,

and Nikka, the German Shepard,
not mutual, and by December with tin
ear, burbled to the gamelon.

At three, suddenly verbal, he claimed
to love me 92 olds and 47 pounds.
I love you he said, 32 – 14 – 7 hours.

He loved my eye and my other eye,
loved his father’s lymphoma’s nodes,
kissed them and said, Now we’re set.

I taught him to say Je t’adore,
which he pronounced “Such a Joe.”
Don’t go, he told me, Such a Joe, Mother.



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