Autumn Sky Poetry . . . Number 21 . . .

On What Might Be Any Day

     by Amy C. Billone

I sit in garbage, my bedroom door cracked

ajar by a jump rope tied to a bear

so he’ll drop on top of my small sister,

my floor unseen beneath books, knights, toy logs,

dolls, castles, winged horses, crumpled sheets

of paper. I’m supposed to be cleaning.

Instead I draw pictures of Demon Dad,

Monster Mom, and Nincompoop Nina, all

chastised by Super Benjy, my giant

orange cat who flies in a cape. Dad bursts

in. He shouts Someday the mess in your room

will enter your mind! He hurls the bear at me.

In early evening the room is not clean.

I write a poem for Mom. I say red suns

are goddesses spilling their makeup. I

want her to love me the way she does her

handsome students. My Dad calls them princes.

I hear her laughing with Dylan. He reads

out loud his poem about thighs. I’d give

anything to turn into a boy.

Enraged, my father stomps in the hall.

When my sister opens the door and cries

because of the dropped bear, Dad throws my ink

away. I climb into bed, crawl beneath

my blue blanket full of comets and dive

into the Secret Hole. I am king there.

Nina can’t go or she will fall through space

forever. This makes her sad. I always

leave behind a statue who looks like me.

Some are creatures that attack her, except

tonight she teaches a kind one to walk

and speak. It must come to dinner since I’m

not home. It doesn’t know the way to use

a fork, spoon or knife. It attaches tubes

of macaroni to its fingers, leans

sideways, sighs, rolls its eyes, sticks out its teeth.

My sister slides in and out of her seat.

She gestures wildly, waves both her arms, lifts

her plate and without silverware she eats

so as to protect me but Mom and Dad

take her food from her and this makes me glad.


Amy C. Billone is Associate Professor of English at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She received her PhD from Princeton University in 2001. Billone has written extensively about nineteenth century sonnets. She is the author of the only book-length study devoted to female sonneteers of the late nineteenth century: Little Songs: Women, Silence, and the Nineteenth-Century Sonnet (The Ohio State University Press, 2007). Billone has published poems widely.


© 2011 Amy C. Billone