Jim Daniels

Knocking on the Window, Saying “I Love You”

My daughter's kindergarten teacher moved into
her boyfriend's house with her young son.
After a month, Miss Gentry dumped the guy,
moved out. Outside her classroom, he pressed
his face to glass: I love you, come back.

And she did. Parents in a tizzy: her poor son—
our children exposed— she spent her summer
bikini preening—the guy's a monster (says his ex)

I'm not crazy about the little hearts she draws over the i
of Sandi or the thick gold chains slouching her neck
as she bends over the tiny faces of children,
my child. But if a person doesn't say I love you,
come back
at least once—I count the times
I have smeared the desperate glass.
Why was Miss Gentry crying, my daughter asked,
because that man said he loved her?

Let's look at the picture you made today,
I said. Her sun, a yellow ball. Her clouds,
blue hearts. I could tell her nothing.

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Economic Fairy Tale: The Cement House

The wolf threw cigarette butts
against the wall and stomped off
but the banker’s bazooka full
of shiny new pennies blew
the roof offa the sucka. Rain
blurred the ink on the contract
that read leave us alone,
and the doctor’s prescription
when decoded by people
just doing their job read
shit out of luck. So, mama
and papa and baby too
rose into heaven above
the four concrete walls,
or sank into the foundation
of what would soon become
a factory of wolves making
sheep’s clothing, depending
on who you’re listening to
if you’re listening at all.
Yeah, I mean you,
with your toy shovel,
your wet matches,
your lucky penny.

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