Today's poem is by Laurie J MacDiarmid

American Movies

Every Sunday afternoon
we watched American movies
between power outages.

Over yellow subtitles,
feathered Indians—
dozens of nameless extras—
waved their bows and arrows,
screamed with one voice
from their ring of horses,
menacing the blue-suited cavalry,
while John. Wayne directed the cowboys
crawling up from the rear
toward their next killing spree,
drawling orders in his languid
Texas diction,
a voice that shivered
through my thin white skin,
until the Indians fell from their horses
in slow motion, gurgling,

and Dad lounged in front of it all
half-naked, belly-white,
sprawled out in a tattered bathrobe
across his leather easy chair
like an hacienda boss
played by an aging Orson Welles,
stirring his gin martini with a thick
index finger.

During those years, the Indians'
silenced screams
pursued me,
welled up in the dark around me like
footsteps in an empty alley.

Lying in bed, I heard
their murmuring voices
in language liquid as spiced hot chocolate,
the scraping sounds of
sliding shadows, and
those blank moments after the credits
and before THE END,
a slither on the front step,
a light knock at the door,
the measured breath and thumping heart
of someone waiting for me there,
someone hungry and faceless, someone
I will be compelled to embrace.

Copyright © 2012 Laurie J MacDiarmid All rights reserved
from Consolation Prize
Georgetown Review Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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