Eleanor, Eleanor, not your real name
Kathryn Cowles

Winner of the 2008 Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Contest

ISBN 9780979374517

Cover art by Kathryn Cowles

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Drop in a bucket

Every pigeon in the world lands
on a rented house near here and

my mother has forgotten
that I am family.
A hole in my roof leaks
shingles to the wind and
I can't track down Andy Smith
his name is too common.
Grandma Elizabeth's rows of Queen Elizabeth Roses
revert to wild pink floribunda roots and
I lose Eleanor
to Christian fundamentalists in matching t-shirts.
Two burning bushes I failed to replant
blush red with awkwardness and
I need a scarf I buy a pink
cocktail dress with a broken zipper.
Grandpa tells a joke if you can't see Mt. Hood
through clouds it's going to rain and if you can it is and
I cry as the plane descends into Portland to know
there's too much beautiful beautiful.
Drops of rainwater pool in my closet
the floor wet with rooflessness and
I swoon at the name "Eleanor" at letters
in a name I try to stifle my swoon.
Red leaves play like roses but they always
fall goddammit nothing can stop them and
I have already begun
to rename my closest friends.
The smog-fog inversion layer is generous it gives
its whole body takes cities whole and
my mother's marriage changes her last name
I keep mine split family tree chop chop.
At mirror lake of 27 such I catch single
waterlilies among the hundreds and
I can't wash a scarf that smells like Andy's cigarettes it
is different from all the other scarves in the world.
Outside in the rain not two minutes when
wet leaves stick all in my hair little red moths and
I lose my letters to other Kathryns one
a scientist in Ohio I would fight her for them.
One tree holds seven leaves six five
the other some two hundred tight and
one leaf I pick from my hair
and hold and hold and hold and hang on my wall.

© 2008 by Kathryn Cowles