“Living Large” by Peter Harris

Peter Harris


The father’s princess was ready to quit
his palace with only a ribbed pullover,
drawstring pants, three-quarters
of a degree, and a Peruvian shawl,

leaving behind his blundering ballet
of lasso love, also her hoop earrings,
her made-up mom, and 20 eloquent
pairs of trainers, pumps and clogs,

leaving behind the mahogany niche
in his law firm, off to become Tibetan,
ready to practice opening her throat
wide enough to chant three notes at once.

What’s wrong with this? He gestured
to his courtyard with its cherub fountain.
“Dad, if you could ride the back of a whale,
would you shimmy life away
like the koi fish your cherub’s always peeing on?”

Dad’s gill slits began to slam open
and shut in the foyer of his chateau
in Grosse Point Shores. He shouted,
“Is that what I am to you, just some
goldfish? Is that what I am?”

But she’d already hopped into her cab
whose tires spat tiny showers
of white pebbles back at him.
The courtyard would have to be raked again.

from Rattle #32, Winter 2009

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