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Beth Ann Fennelly – Ⅲ

Elegy for the Footie Pajamas 




No snap between your legs,

for months.  But how?  When did I last

gnaw sausages cased in terry cloth?

When did I last un-snap-snap-snap?

I’ve gone to the door and I’ve shouted.

I am missing some-ping.  Hey, you,

in your big-girl PJs, don’t you have

a little sister?  You’re giant,

lying down, dreaming of beanstalks.

I have no cows for you to sell.  Not now.

What is Mommy doing?  I am reading

in a disco.  No, it’s not a disco,

it’s my office with your finger on the switch.

Two years lived under a strobe light–

when I look up, you’re there

then there and there.  When I look up,

you’ve nailed the cha-cha, the fox trot.

What happened in the in-between?

What is Mommy reading?

A book with pages torn out

by Kenny Mullins in grade four.

Kenny Mullins why do you do that I said

he said Because you’re fat.

Twenty years later in Starbucks

Kenny Mullins says Sorry about the book

it was a joke!  He says Don’t put me in a poem!

He says Ha Ha Ha!  Now he’s fat, and also bald.

Oh, yes, now I say Ha Ha Ha.

I don’t like myself like this.  I am leaving

some-ping out.  Like me.  Do you?  Tomorrow

you’ll ask for the keys.  Answer’s No.

Buttering me up, you say, Let’s play,

Mommy, I be the snake, you be the dark.

Fast child of a fast mother,

it’s been years but I haven’t forgotten

being the dark.  It comes right back.  It’s like

pushing someone off a training bike.