sing me the beautiful bells

an ancient chevrolet pickup lays rusting
quite nearly on its side
the wheels, removed
brakes disassembled
hydraulic lines ripped from the cylinders
by an impatient surgeon.

the child's toys are strewn
here and there, small dolls blasted
from their fragile homes
victims of poverty fire abounding;
no one has ever taken the time to explain
that each thing has its place.
it would not make any sense to her,
chaos being the only law her fiveyearold head comprehends,
so simply i gather the broken things together
side by side in a makeshift grave
a large wooden box built for fruits.

katlynn climbs the scrub oak
she climbs, lodges herself in a crook
and begins to sing, a thing which sounds
like gaelic song, her voice quivering in perfect design.
this is my child. my blood coursing. my voice
dressed in pink and high in yonder oak tree
singing, the beautiful belle.

how close i came so many nights
drunk beneathe a likewise tree
beneathe a midnight sky such as this one
pondering the slap of shot against stubborn temple
to quiet my own stupid song.

but i am here yet, and glowing, my own life
this solitary thing i have led for so many years
cluttered with nearly the same bits of trash
strewn upon liferocks and broken repeatedly
like poor Polly Pocket and the family Doll
peacefully now in their charnel house,
laughing in one breath, roaring the next,
unable to decipher the slightest ray
of sunlight - here i stand with my shadow
and i am rain at once and sun and mystery again.

sing me the beautiful bells.
bring me the resounding voice of joy.
no pale imitation of a childhood,
but the thing of viceral love i crave
which courses my own juice, my own
lost innocent's stare, everything
that was stolen of me so very long ago.
let me begin to forgive.

c. earl nelson

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