Liz Dolan


The red and yellow Tonka truck
that he had laid his chest on

and pushed with short legs two blocks
is parked parallel to my Taurus.

David, how did you get here alone? I say.
My five year old brother's crushed skull

flashes by. I must call your mother.
He dashes into the computer room,

bangs on the keys, laughs at the rainbow screen.
I laugh, too, recalling the day I heard him

using the mouse as a phone.
He winds the red-knobbed handle

moving the tin merry-go-round, and
claps when the farmer and wife

circle in and out of the door.
He tosses Tinker Toys from their small turret

to hear the screak of wood on oak.
Bodacious boy who knows no danger,

who slipped into this world
on a thread as fine as a banshee's cry,

how will we protect you from the drifter
whistling under the street light,

the bully who spits in your milk,
the sweet flotsam of yourself.

* * *


Daughter, remember once I told you
anyone who could triple-back handspring
off a balance beam,
nail both feet without a bobble,
could tackle anything.
I asked you how you knew
for that split second
when you accelerated
throwing back your head, arching your spine,
your toes pointing, your taut body circling
like a windmill, where the beam is.
You said, Spatial awareness, I guess.

Every time you lifted off
I, earth-bound Caliban,
closed my eyes lending you my sight.
Now I watch you nursing
your jet-haired Christmas boy who barely cries.
Oxygen seeps into his tiny nostrils through a canula,
your hand cradles his floppy head.
I fear his life without flight
until I see him arcing in your eyes.

Liz Dolan, a four time Pushcart nominee, has won a 2009 fellowship as an established professional from the Delaware Division of the Arts. In addition, her first poetry manuscript was nominated for the Robert McGovern prize, Ashland University. She has also been published in On the Mason Dixon Line, An Anthology of Contemporary Delaware Writers,University of Delaware, 2008.