continue shaking the bottle.
the misplaced lid
struggles to keep up
with the slapstick pressure
of her blistered right palm.
the granules refuse to
dissolve, and they team up
to form an island, patchwork
nation where flora and fauna
write well-intentioned law.
find a sunlit space.
a loved one tells her
to close her eyes and
wave at the scowling men
whose lawns hiss below.
stirring her coffee with
an off-white straw, she walks
along broken lines, kicking the
rocks whose tips have gone dry
and sharp, initials like kohl.
stretch across the pavement.
her dog is smiling shyly
like nurses at humid dawn
who gently touch the shoulders
of those who dodged the fire.
the men stand upright
and demand an explanation
for her lateral complacence,
young chapped lips in no way
pursed as noon burns like lye.
continue to sip and shine.
a hot winged weekend comes to take me away
and like any sensible person on her front porch,
I sit awhile, nod my head, listen to the word
of the plastic pelicans, pinwheels shimmering
behind them – the finest background dancers.
my brother rests on an elevated plane, and I
dart my head towards the direction you’d like
to take, as if I know where you’re headed, as
if I’ve been there and could tell you how many
threads have contracted their lives to a doormat.
I keep my word, but as for my brother, his
memory is one built on convenience, tufts of
gray cotton bordering his neck like Elizabethan
collars, regal and intimidating like the elders
who scare you from asking necessary questions.
you’ve come to me with questions, and I’ve got
nothing but scarcity on this one plot of land, the
smoothness in froth-less coffee waking us up
as the heat of an unforgiving summer awakens
each wrist to rotate, clockwise and cautious.
the cars line up, the ants line up, and the weeds
grow unevenly, like brittle eyelashes rooted in
place for as long as you’d like to stay, for as long
as you’d like to tell me that nothing is wrong, and
water from floppy hoses tastes like guava nectar.
Cat No. 136 of the 500 Cats Project
Connie Undone is on sale at Amazon. Or, get a signed copy from me directly for $12, plus a handwritten poem on a topic of your choice.
this is my first invitation,
and although I lack the
qualifications to advise you
on how to deal with those
noisy neighbors, I do have
pointed ears, open and aware
of the crackling, your knuckles
gone pale from lost sleep.
once I was told that there is
a difference, that judgment didn’t
count against us if we took time
to assimilate, to foster these
saplings like the tastiest of greens,
drizzled in the kindness of cheap
olive oil, almost odorless and clear
like the tears we’ve swallowed out
of bitterness, our confusion tucked
beneath fraying and grayed pillows
gone hard between hospital walls.
gone for just a weekend,
but the floor screeches like
overworked vinyl, and I am
unsure that it is my smirk that
set the pundits off, that divided
the schoolgirls who come to class
a little after six in the morning,
brandishing their plastic spoons.