Thanks For Nothing, Dorothy

In black and white you sang a dream

of bluebirds and rainbow that shaped

me like a bonsai pine leaning hard

into a still wind. That was me at your

side on the long road back to the home

you thought better of leaving once you’d

gone, and I more than any other coveted

the sequined power of those ruby shoes

to dance me down a road of my own,

out and away. I believed it all, even your

remorse, which left me unshod and shaking,

whirling like a twister in my own backyard.

Your dream wasn’t mine after all

and those shoes were wasted on you.

 

©Dana Hughes 10.28.19

Fill In The Blank

#2’s poised above the page

teacher intoning instructions

for the first test taken in a long line

of tests on which the future hangs;

fill in the bubble leave no stray marks,

as if those dark circles aren’t all strays

filled as they’ll be with assumptions,

the eenie meenie miney mos of our

thinking given that we’re children

when first asked to prove what

we know.

 

This Fill in the Blank is essential to

identity for this is how we learn same

and other, naming what goes in that

space, molding thought like lumps of

Play-Doh into forms we claim are

recognizable, yet even Moses needed

more information to fill in the blank when

the bush burned and a voice said go.

 

It wasn’t the message that stilled

him where he stood but the blank he

couldn’t fill. Give me a name, a trait,

an address, he said, but the voice replied

it doesn’t really matter as there’s only me

so tell them it was I who sent you, an answer

that didn’t fit the question just like the one he

got when asking for a face-to-face and the

voice said seeing me will kill you, implying

that blank cannot be filled with what we know

since all we know is through being us and

the one who spoke is everything we’re not.

 

Evenso we pencil in the answers and

deem them correct despite the lack

of proof and grade our fellows in red

when their response does not match

ours and the unanswerable mutters,

stray marks stray marks.

 

©Dana Hughes 9.15.17