I wonder and worry
about things done on Friday
that I’m pretty sure someone
else has addressed.
So kind and brave.
A walk from the bakery to
another closing sandwich shop
and a protest line of stop signs
twisted at the root, six sides
falling into your yard, and only
your yard, which is great because
no one likes spending his first
late night raising a strained voice
over uneven blades of grass that
resemble, more or less, the zipper
of a lost love’s overused skirt, one
that looked good with flats only
after she realized that she was better
off without you and could say this
somewhat loudly in front of mirrors
smeared by toothpaste packaged
by liars, the jaded, and those too
familiar with late winter laziness
and joy afforded to snapped legs.
I’m pretty sure there’s something
she wants to address
but her Friday is a wordy one
eight months away, lost and found.
Cat No. 108 of the 500 Cats Project
Plastic, glass, transparency.
You who have given your best so freely while the vanilla
inside the busted freezer solidifies so stubbornly
and stabs all youth’s sides.
Run in this finicky heat and tell me if you’ve won
today’s crackling debate.
Apply all you could know into the pores, some large
and some like the point on a pencil sharper than
your thesis statement born on foggy mornings when cars
kiss backsides with force and unfulfilled hunger.
Streets keep winding regardless of the time
your eyes spent lost in smeared fine print that
never seems to make up its damn mind the longer
you take to wrap a bow around runaway reasons.
Even in houses with manicured lawns, Swarovski
figurines convulse on clean tile floors.
you could do whatever you wanted with
shallow graves and the scales of a goldfish
who overstayed his welcome during the flood.
he was a nice man, sharing his adventures
and gently asking me why I wasn’t making
anything out of myself, although my attempts
to figure out what I truly want continue, gray
blinds remaining flat like a composure that
once spilled over, staining my frayed bluejeans
as he lost himself laughing at his own jokes.
someone could say “I miss you,” and yell
my name while I stand under bridges, confused.
such a dizzied state, encountering those
you think you’ve seen before, in the suburbs
or a busy intersection choked by sticky
hands of teenagers we sometimes resent.
satisfaction awakes us like tart and big cherries
but like wedding rings, it sometimes escapes.
we point and ask if anyone’s seen it and
if luck had itself a merry little morning, perhaps
we’ll find that shimmering solidity nestled
in nothing more than another denim pocket.
I appreciated his sentiments while the clock
swallowed hard, and I took my time to chew
on imperfectly recited advice, even if it soured
out in the open like a lonely yellow Starburst.
you leave me exhausted,
and my eyes should’ve closed
but I run to both ends,
living room begs for Clorox.
dipping fingers in a ripped bag,
thinking up lies when
asked how much I make,
and all I’ve made is chalky regret.
pace and trip over the past,
face in line with dim stoplights
and lips short like mumbling,
mosquitoes ridiculing every crease.
I see you three days out,
the week’s hefty wavelength
throws its hunger on still shale,
footprints solemn like young moons.
pat these cheekbones pink,
grapefruit skin clings to meat
so raw and pretty when prosthetic,
though sinewy as your goodbye.
I press myself dutifully against the creases
of my first sofa, curling pink toes and taking
a breath here and there because I cannot rely on
the increased intensity of our 2AM releases while
we’re both so grounded in not exactly knowing how
to spell something other than “astronaut” after
they continue to ask us what we’ll come back as
when there are no more shops selling milkshakes
within the hours we both gasped at just how good
it feels to wear everything backwards (everything).
slow it down, the lights don’t sleep like you
assume I can’t, and this is unusually fine with me
as you stub your toe on tables in ways I don’t
understand like the laws of physics multiplying in
heat while anyone with pity says my fear and lukewarm
speechlessness run to each corner of my faded paper
brain that’s more like a balloon skidding across a
sandy road with the shortest string trailing behind.
making the most of what brevity rustles on your
front porch and the flimsy reminders of old windowsills.
that’s all we have to do, and we will be just fine.
I was sitting on the front porch of a house I didn’t grow up in
and most would say this is not proper etiquette, but I promise
a handful of people nearby do the same thing, quieted by cats
in their afternoon battles with dying leaves stepped upon by
some people with a lightness that captivates and confuses me
the way sunburns sting thinner faces on days when it doesn’t rain
but the neighborhood came close as I hoped I’d find that boy walking
across the yard of the house I didn’t grow up in, but I do know a
boy had lived behind its door, that he sang so loudly before the night.
dropped a pen
into a cup of tea
and my mother
as I carried bad
habits from those
like driving vans
into garage doors
and setting fires
by tossing foil
no one died
but some laughed
after a few months
passed and faded
as party invites
took brief flight
and we said our
greetings to all
who so wanted to
stop by and fail
in forgetting all
remind me of your favorite words.
when I speak them, I want to notice
my orchid facing the world, parking lot
full of today’s laughing yuppies as children
don’t live here, but they certainly lived
somewhere one point in time, one year
remembered, one season to protest any
drop of humidity that oversaturates
the pivotal calm we take for granted.
you told me you could read them
even in my hurried, hybrid cursive
that sought to be read by anyone
but truly, only you understood the
muted spaces, demure little vowels
letting consonants deliver truth to
a tee as ambulances catch speed.
we can only write what we know.
the windows do reveal some emptiness
that left bruises on our thighs and
calves dry as the June of my childhood
that I barely remember, now that I want
to sleep a bit more, eat all I can afford
until the news says “no,” and morning
cuts cheaply made blankets that never
kept us warm when we noticeably shook
and spoke some kind of dialect imitated
by the loudest midnight storm in a year.
to breathe is an art, especially while
singing among those who talk more about
the dress you wore inside the church, and
if it was proper, and if there was a good
enough reason for you to stand in the light
when the past few times were spent back and
forth in bleak ditches and blunt ambiguity.
of course, people say what they will, what they
want, and what they wish they could do
without any sort of consequence.
profess and open your mouth more often, and let me
know when perfection waters every lawn in our neighborhood
to where drinking from the tap becomes mildly cool.
it would be nice for all of us to stop looking
over our shoulders perhaps for one day, or an hour.
to breathe can be oh so daunting.
I am immune
to drunken folly
while every meow
calls like a magnet
to paperclips awed
by floral stationary.
Napper by trade.
Your highly self-trained
*Cat No. 24 of the 500 Cats Project