At Meadowlark Bar in Denver about a year ago.
wasn’t until she died
that I looked directly at her
illness. Her eyebrows shaped
into smooth boomerangs,
burgundy lips, eyes brimming
with ink, wide and steady
fooled me with their togetherness.
Even when her words
gathered like daggers
and her bathroom became
the stage for a Shakespearian play,
I looked around it and at her.
How to end this, I wonder
if she wondered, in poetry.
How to endure silence
or use it wisely.
It wasn’t until
then that I understood
the scars she needed
not to hide, little broken
white lines down her thigh,
arm, across her neck, poet’s desire to show
what happens when the mind refuses
the body. I wish she could
open her mouth to speak.
You must do your research,
mull over opposing views
both backed and refuted by Science.
You must partake in a free trial. Only
then can you decide
it’s too risky
and turn the unit off.
You must deliberate with your husband
of inhaling your neighbors second-hand smoke
versus the risk of inhaling ozone gas.
You must consider
the age of your carpet, you must make phone calls,
feel the tension in your stomach,
have coffee with a friend. Forget all about it,
then come home to a now enthusiastic husband
who has turned the unit on.
You must be the skeptical one
now. You’re afraid of dying
too soon; knock on your
smoking neighbors door and explain
this to him.
You must recieve three
air-purifier related emails
from your mother-in-law.
Then, only then, can you
make the purchase. It will run
all night, emitting a low, wispy hum
and the little blue light
will confuse you
when you get up to go to the bathroom.
But you will be safe.
I am honored to win the Blue Monday Review Story-time Challenge for February with my poem, “Want Song.” The Blue Monday Review is an awesome emerging journal; check it out here.
Watch the video of my reading here.
And, because poems on the page want to be seen:
Each playground rebuilt this summer,
someone must have proposed—gutted,
swiped, and resurrected in bright yellows
and blues. Every road widened, someone
thought, then the roads expanded
like lungs. A parking deck, another said.
A parking deck, one echoed, a parking deck,
came the refrain until all were singing
the city’s hymns. Great men descended
from shiny roofs to do the good work.
To take their break in the shade, remove
the hard hat and click open the cooler.
We moved over for them and they painted
fresh lines for us to follow. We walked
around them, breathed their dust, we woke
when our buildings shook with wanting.
We got out of bed as the jackhammer’s cry
all but shattered our windows; we poured our
coffee, sat at the kitchen table and watched
as brick by brick, the sky sealed shut.