Do the Right Thing (1989)


Sister stands in the lake with me.
She has mud just under her chin;
The lip bit under lip. 


I cut her hamstrings.
She slips underneath the water.


*


Sister marries
A nice, balding, carpet salesman.
She paints


Or collages in a studio.  I do not, anymore,
Put my
Fists into walls.


Her work flat, a lot
Of primary colors: a tomboy
Laughing; a dog,


Its left eye cut out
Its right eye cataracted.


The dog tastes the tomboy’s wet legs.


*


My father and mother will
Burn the house down—everyday
I pray for it. 



Poem for Narrative People


         for Pete, who is not one


I have gained 15 pounds
And I carry
The fat like a veil. 


 *


God ain’t all
Infinite and shit
He or She has boundries


Proven by five-year-olds
Who rub periwinkle
Over God's guns for arms,


Drawn and redrawn.
We see the eraser marks
And the dug-in gray


Of where the pencil dulled
On the body.
And they also crown Him or Her


With a gaudy claw.
But thank Him the kids don't assume
He listens to jazz or honky tonk


Or She pets the souls of dodos,
She picks silphium
In some pretty garden: God just blahs.


________________________________________


Phil Estes' work has appeared in Beecher's, Hayden's Ferry Review, Willow Springs and others, with work forthcoming in Acreage, Diagram, and Sonora Review.   He lives in Stillwater, Oklahoma.