Saturday, May 09, 2015

How a Mermaid Becomes a Daughter

The weeds break under your weight – the ants race across the moss on this river bank, saving what they can. Look at your filthy naked feet, how your middle toe breaks the grass root stem. The feral tabby is walking away from you, his asshole a pink period. Your toenails are ragged, shiny and rough, like drops of milky spittle. The mourning doves clutching the maple branches above us, puff-breasted, both rosy and grey, moan silently. They watch to see what you'll do. In the breeze, the dark throats of the purple sweet peas turn towards you, turn away. The water before us is cool and fast, whistling softly.

A mother is a crack in the world. I touch your matted hair: It's not my fault I love him better. Miles above us, clouds like pulled strands of cotton candy. Like white spiders tackling tiny dogs and cats. We can see nothing from here, no houses, no horizons. Here, the stinking egg shell of the sky crumbles away. The water is full of bright and glinting pebbles. Smooth and cold for your mouth. The chickadees slap and chirp at the margins, flick damp wings at you, try to meet your yellow eyes. See the horse at the bottom of the river, how he gallops along with the stream. He is waiting for you to braid dandelions into his black mane, for you to straddle his brittle back.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Still Life with Archaeology

It was the year we all discovered our conjoined twins. Some were hiding in our hats. Some clung to our ankles. A few had been pretending to be our mothers. We recognized them by the tattoos on their wrists, the word effigy, which is Latin for copy. We took photos, bought them flip-flops. After a week of holding their tiny hands and washing their hairy bulbous feet, we wondered what to do with them. They were smaller than us, less pretty, smelled of vinegar and pepper.

We decided to build tree houses for them, then take away the ladders. It was windy when they first went up, and near dusk. Trapped up high, they stared at us, mumbling. It was windy when they first went up, and near dusk. The trees shook. Their hair whipped behind them, blew into faces, into mouths. The sound of their weeping was plastic bells, and dog claws on kitchen floors. When it rained that night, most of the twins washed away. A few shrunken pieces stuck to telephone poles, a few hung from power lines.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Still Life with Marble Head and Glove

It was the year we lost all our right gloves, so our right hands were chapped and cold. We didn't want to lose our left gloves too, so we wore them all the time, even in our dreams.

At night, our gloves are too big, flapping in the wet breeze. They become damp, covered with frost. We slip them off and suck on them, trying to warm them up.

I tell you not to swallow yours, so you do, like a lizard swallowing a fish. Everyone likes your style. Soon glove-swallowing is a dream epidemic; we wake up with green scales on our wrists, our tongues unscrolling to snooze the alarms. The left gloves are filthy, tattered. The trees have all fallen and become industrial bricks.

Under the table, a lake is drowning our gloves. Drowning them, then tacking them up to dry, plum lipstick stains on all the thumbs.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Dear New Jersey,

With your yellow bird-like people and your people like birds, with your bisected jade skies and your sullen-faced nephews, with your sheets of dark glass replacing lakes, your floating teal dry-cleaners, your saffron clouds clinging to roads that end in staircases,

how you cuddle me as we huddle smoking on the whitewashed porch, while the crows call like broken hinges, as our unborn toddlers build the country's biggest purple Jacuzzi,

how you take my hand with eel-tongue fingers as you whisper about revolutionary-hatted ghosts, about steam-driven disasters in the underground railroad,

which is underneath us, right now, in this parking lot covered with antlers, in this backseat covered with ultramarine velvet, in this shallow hole we have dug in your backyard

to bury the things we cared about and forgot, under our pink and green apple trees, our lawns the color of LSD, under the persistent drizzle that tastes like persimmons and asbestos.