JoAnna Scandiffio

this is what has happened to me

I look at the photo of the bombed-out bedroom
the old man sitting on what is left of his bed
as he listens to music on a gramophone
he cranks by hand and I don’t believe

his hands don’t tremble

the photo is too composed   fake
like a black and white winter scene
with snow falling and no footprints
of dogs barking

this is what has happened to me

I no longer trust the news  the photographer
the old man  his music  the singer  her words
that give the old man his gentleness his belief
song birds return home

I don’t believe his music holds all that he’s lost
or shields him from the rubble  the snow melting

I am callous  even the pipe the old man smokes
is suspect   even sugar isn’t sweet




when I can’t recall the name of the woman who thinks like a cow
I take the roundabout  look up the actress who played her

to find   Temple Grandin   her name conjures up India  Gandhi
a way of thinking that leaps over the moon

cows    she knew   need room to moo   they balk at gates
clanging metal  hiss of air  blinding light

the way they meander is the way they think

if they could see two feet in front of them if they could sense
they were going back to where they came from   their moos

became oms   their oms echoes     their slaughter easier on them 

she kept herself intact by making a harness for random thoughts
to pass through

the curve in the bend of her mind

a hugging box that held spin of sirens scratch of chickens   until
she could rest like cows on a hillside untethered by the night sky falling

which leads me to Gandhi who collected his thoughts like love letters
who turned the lock on the clink of gates  releasing hiss of air   binding light

the way the jingle of cow bells frees the mind to wander   the swish
of a cow tail sets the pulse to hum

the way walking in circles leads to alfalfa sprouts