Gerald Yelle

Tom-Tom Milk Song

If hiding behind a Cheerios box was
breakfast, was dinner licking a fork
so no one would sit in your place? 
The way our mother remembers her
brothers and sisters-a whitewash. 
Like supper milk on the table since
four. Too lukewarm to wash down
cake, just viscid enough to bring up
the gorge. My sister complained
there were motes in her milk. She'd
eaten her cake, dropped crumbs in
her cup, thought she'd not finish
milk tainted like venial sin. Like the
blood of an only child if not for the
brother shining his eye-light wishing
he could go unseen on nocturnal
prowls smelling skin and bone like
no one more or less invisible than
Hermes, the worm-perfect pervert.

Gerald Yelle lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. He teaches high school English. Recent poems have appeared in The Comstock Review, The Pedestal, Juked, and Argestes. Notes on books he has recently enjoyed as well as links to poems published on the web can be found at

"The best front porch of my life was the one at 1 Lincoln Street, Holyoke, Massachusetts. You could see down the alley between the houses across the street. A good deal of southern sky. A whole lot of auto and truck traffic. Pedestrians sometimes included pretty girls. It was late spring, early summer, I was about 18, and I would sit out there after finishing my homework, my parents were both working, brothers and sisters behaving, I'd smoke a few cigarettes and watch day turn to night. I didn't need a book or a record player at times like that."


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