3 Poems by Eileen Patterson

Winter 1994

Snowflakes cry on the rooftops as I dial 911
and sirens sing the blues on Jefferson St.
while my daughter would not leave my hip. 3:45 a.m.
the skeleton that was her father bangs
on the door vile, like a winter storm, wild
words flow out of his mouth breaking my courage
and almost the door.
Snowflakes that graze the top of crow’s 
heads perch on telephone wires while old
Mary Pintarro is thrown off her porch and lay
on the cement the side of her face cracked
like a porcelain doll.
Snowflakes listen as my neighbor screams
and blood drips from her mouth making red
snow angels on the ground.
Snowflakes dance at my window as I entertain
a male guest. “Maybe you’ve heard about this,”
he said. “I did not.” I reply. “It was a summer
years ago, two buddies and I. An old lady down
the street.” He points his hand lean, beautiful,
and dark as a Hershey Kiss.
“We were high on drugs. They raped and killed her.
One stuck a broom up her snatch. I didn’t do a thing.”
he said. “But took her money and some old coins.”
He didn’t do a thing, I thought, as his tongue slips into
my mouth while snowflakes dance at my window.

Lay These Bones Down

Can I rest these bones now?
The body weakened wasting the salt of my body
in this unforgiving world.
This frail frame draws the blinds where the sun
peers through and burns me with its life,
Billy Holiday her voice turning and turning
sadly says,
“it ain’t no one’s business if you do.”  
Plath chimes in agreement,
“but be still as you can, don’t knock anything over.”
Sexton says, “Open the vein let the blood ring like roller skates. “
I listen to their words and turn my back
on everything. My hopeless hands carry
these half-baked words on this useless piece
of paper.
So I lay these bones down,
put them in the earth.
Let the tombstone be the face
to talk to, visit, blame.
Lay these bones down
let the earthworms and beetles
seduce me with their earthy charms.
Let the fronds of the willow fan
the hot bones till they chill, frozen white
soundless in the ground.


Heroes come and heroes go.
No one stops to pick me up
from this broke down life.
I wait for the winged hero angel
to notice me.
As I sit on the sidelines of life
waiting for the road to rescue,
I stray from the righteous path
of reality. I journey deep into
the woods of fancy invention.
This is where I matter, my words
powerful poetry. Music notes glide,
as I waltz in my white dress,
on the shiny black floor.
The audience stares, awestruck
wondering who the poem is that glides,
gracefully and in tune with the music.

Eileen Patterson was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She now resides in Cudahy, Wisconsin and belongs to The Southshore Poets. Along with her fellow poets she has read her poetry at the Cudahy Library several times. She is moved by the poetry of Anne Sexton, Marge Piercy, Sharon Olds and many more poets.