the new familiar

The specter has left. That’s what we’ve been told.
But its tears are like hope spilled from shattered fish bowls.
Gray eyeliner, darker still. The cleanser is rolling, out of reach.

I feel so silly, counting the cartwheels performed without grace.
My breath, like school glue splattered on a faded binder.
Impeach what’s no longer discrete. It’s out there, like cheese on rye.

As a girl, they called me the littlest Matryoshka doll.
So small and quiet. Easily forgotten at the end of the road.
They always sat me down, told me in private that all my thoughts were off.

Today, I get some phone calls. From people. Those people.
The house won’t sell for less than what I say, but they laugh.
Again, I clear my throat, looking to see if I’ve scared them.

Children are territorial. Sometimes, when the lights die down.
When the lights are tired, or so they proclaim.
Exhaustion is a trench coat for the big wigs dyed at the fringes.

Arms crossed, back as flat as it can possibly get. We’re sore.
An imbalance that burdens our asphalt shoulders.
The everyday whistle, tea kettle cringing in time with shut doors.

days in a week

pristine immunity
was never a truth,
but there is a point to
the simplest things.

apples, little globes
of water contained
with a charge so subtle
we can barely hear it.

with every itch, every
prick at the folds of
our skin, drying through
another nebulous day.

it’s the shock of it,
cold as swing set steel
that prompts us to sketch
stick figures ever lost.

we wrap ourselves up
and wear bubble wrap
masks, and cut into our
palest, stained jeans.

blue bodies and white
exhalations reveal our
struggle, knowing no one
alleged to cry “wolf.”

we wait, breathing in
the rubber cement, its
pungent, hard denial toying
with life’s unsure lips.

An Unpredictable Spring Awakening

Contentment’s pastoral peace
Runs through the veins of leaves that mother
Appeasing myself, as I lay
Soaking up the quiet, and thinking
About what The Economist plans to post
On its front page, a month from now

I rest, beneath a buried scorn
For the weather forecast that lied
Because if it were really 44 degrees
I could be indoors
Reading an Economist stained with Earl Grey

But why the displeasure
It has no space
To brood and preach
As children race on cardboard skateboards
Without their coats
And freed of boots

*Cat No. 13 of the 500 Cats Project