Saturday, June 11, 2016

Preflight Checklist

Behind the airlock door 
there is something keeping this rocketship safe 

Perhaps it is better left dead and unsaid 
perhaps I can teach my tongue to curl and figure eight
fancy and tight
or maybe this is a game of fetch
where your mother -
and babbly-
throws the steak knife
on the floor

and I bring her lilac breath mints,
flashing the smile I rehearsed 
during my vivisection lessons with the butcher. 

Holding Patterns

The pattern of the bathroom tile 
resembles the blanket 
you wrapped around your dollies 
when they took ill.
Martha, your favorite, had chicken pox
until the red crayon spots you inflicted on her
flaked off and faded away. 
You swaddled her tightly
and rocked her back and forth, 
singing your hush-a-byes.  
Her eyes frozen open.  
Her plastic body  
holding the heat of your folded arms.
You now understand 
how you rehearsed your futility
from such an early age. 

The cat can no longer stand.
She’s dying, the way old house cats do:
tongue paper dry, skin and fur 
sagging from the bone.
She’s chosen to curl up
next to the cool porcelain toilet base.
You bring her canned tuna 
and a water dish 
and swaddle her in your bathrobe.  
Her paws no longer holding heat
in your folded arms. 

County Lines Mean Nothing

The same sun that 
steal pigments from the billboards 
stretched along the freeway
blushes my cheeks, 
even in January,
when the salted roads crack
under black ice.