Dan Simpson

MY MOTHER CLEANS Listen to Audio Version

More exacting than graceful,
she does a turn around my kitchen.
The satellite radio plays
"I'll Never Smile Again,"
and she thinks of dancing, the way he turned her,

the way he turned her head Back then,
some sixty years
and one death ago.

Between my stove and microwave
she manages a neat slide,
her arm around the neck of a mop.

* * *

School for the Blind*Listen to Audio Version

New world
scaled down
small as the
cream-soft palms
of the four-year-old
left tonight
at the boarding school
in an open dorm,
(aisle nearest the lockers,
second bed down)
suitcase from home,
touch bed-spread
with hands pried from
face-high mommyskirt.

Best thing, they said:
braille and new playmates,
still home for the weekends.
Then they drove off.
Kathy and Connie
got to watch Lassie.

Down he lies.
Down he lies.

But tomorrow morning,
his shoelaces tied,
he will decide
to make new friends,
learn every language,
study the birds to know how to sing,
read every book,
plot his escape,
and fly from the playground on airplane swings.

*first appeared in Prairie Schooner, Fall, 2003)

Daniel Simpson, former church musician, computer programmer, and high school English teacher, currently serves as Access Technology Consultant to the Free Library of Philadelphia. He studied poetry with Judith Moffett and Gregory Djanikian while earning an M.A. in English at the University of Pennsylvania. For five years, he apprenticed with Molly Peacock in poetry and memoir writing and is currently working with poet Stephen Dunn. His work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, The Atlanta Review, and Philomel, among others. In 2008 he and his brother David Simpsonproduced Audio Chapbook, their first record book.