The First Symptoms
No, I'm the monster, he says. Eyes
behind round tortoiseshell glasses
shift left, then up, redden. But
broccoli, she answers, I like broccoli
on my toast. Her purple lips
exactly match her fingernails.
He asks about their child,
part pony, part cat. The cop
looms over them, tall as a rosebush;
they try to ignore him. Her husband
loosens his tie, its bathing
beauties waving from the shore.
She pets the hem of her black silk
slip and tells it, I love you. The cop
clears his throat. She reapplies her
lipstick and her husband says,
I hit a swan on the way home.
It was crossing the Caulfield's pond.
Allergies? she asks. Everyone smokes
outside, he replies. Out in the parking
lot, next to the violet rosebushes.
The cop lights up and starts to cough.
The swan was my mother, he says
as the smoke enters the lace curtains
touching the window and drifts
into her hair. No, I'm the monster,
she says and kisses the cop's eyelids
as he flutters them obligingly.