Beaded Baby Moccasins

By Joanne Dominique Dwyer
If   love is like a doll’s shoe —
the color of nascent snow
that laces over the ankle
or the polychromatic beaded baby moccasins
we saw lying in the museum drawer
that belonged to an infant from a sea tribe of seal hunters.
Or the rutilant pink blossoms
of the locust tree that bloomed in the dark
while I slept dreaming of my arrival
on a red-eye wearing a long to the floor skirt —
not of a postulant, but of a flower vendor
or a woman covering disfigurement.
Freud believed that religious faith
is a wish-fulfilling illusion.
I can’t locate faith in a carved or uncarved pew.
I’m more focused on the altar boy’s shoes.
Under his white robe he’s wearing a man’s black loafers
vastly oversized for his small feet with
sufficient spare space for a coyote den in each toe.
I want to buy him a kite.
If   love is a mezzanine floor we will not fall from,
a hand holding back my hair from my face
as I’m sick on the side of the bus.
The mouth so at home in the vicinity of pavement.
Pew also means to enclose, as in men who were
as willingly pewed in the parish church
as their sheep were in night folds.
Freud also believed civilized life imposes suffering,
yet he always wore a dinner jacket.
We delaminate layers of old paint
bleach sheets in the shade.
I take out the oily ham from the beans,
the unflattering photos from the folio,
the quotes about repressed homosexuality
being the reason Sigmund’s patient Little Hans
is afraid of   horses.

Source: Poetry (March 2013).


This poem originally appeared in the March 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

March 2013
 Joanne Dominique Dwyer


Joanne Dominique Dwyer’s * first book of poems, Belle Laide, will be published by Sarabande Books this spring. She lives in Northern New Mexico where she works with the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Romantic Love

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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