Animals Invited to the Jubilation
The lion, the shark and the wooly mammoth
have arrived. I am in charge
of boiling the water. My daughter is in charge
of the guests. Bring the peppermint tea, she says,
candied pineapple. Bring the muffins,
bring fruit. Napkins. Bring blankets.
Because if they need sleep, we’ll
cover them up. The Aurora shooter grows
a beard in jail three miles away. A sodden
teddy bear floats from the memorial toward a
storm drain. A flash flood, the mask
of a super hero. She wraps the lion
in a dish towel. Lays him down
in front of the fireplace. She spreads newspaper
instead of a table cloth. Her teacup spills over
Car Bomb Shatters Truce. She scoops
sunflower seeds on each plate.
One meringue cookie. Parts of
Jessica lie alone in a crawl space waiting
for a boy’s confession. Where, she asks, are
their mamas? I ask my mother
what possibly is expected of us.
We put down our cups. Slice open
a letter from Auntie in Abu Dhabi. The bells
for prayer, she writes, ring two beats later
at one church across from another. Sometimes
it sounds like a hymn planned by angels. Other timeslike a hundred cars crashing.
Mary Harpin is a digital Storyteller, part time at a creative agency and part time through her consulting business, CAVU Creative. She holds an MFA in poetry from Hamline University (St. Paul, Minn) and has received a What Light poetry award and a Prairie Poetry prize. Her work has appeared in Dos Passos Review, Gertrude, Artichoke Haircut, Conclave and elsewhere. Mary lives in Denver with her husband and daughters.