The funeral’s for the woman with the crooked finger.
The one who’s last words were morse code on the tire above her.
The boy and the girl in a Chevette left the car listening
to the mother’s patterings.
Looking up, both expecting a blue jay
to come shrieking past, for a cheaply-sought sign.
The sky stuttered and panicked
looking for a bird to throw down at them,
but there were none.
On Sundays I go to the nursery with ones in my pocket from the night before,
smelling of lotion and Hennessy on the rocks.
The men all wave with soil-caked palms, and the Japanese maples imitate them,
bent and repetitive.
When I take the tree home, I don’t water it, let it die, not giving it a chance to mock
Capillaries tickle his cheeks between sex. He stands,
rubs his eyes, sweat falling on her inner thigh,
the dog rushing in, its tongue softer than the man’s.
Her limbs, encased in a spring, lengthen, but don’t break.
A blanket falls over her naked middle and she grabs at the edges,
the stitches between her eyebrows pulling together.
“Adonis can I have your number?” a woman says, her red mouth
turned softly down,
towards the head of the poet. The cardboard cutout of the man
smiled. Wire-rim glasses
never removed, left indents in his nose, where the cartilage shrank in
and hugged. She left him
standing on the corner wrapped in her tattered red bra and beige, cotton underwear,
bored by his homely appearance.
The man at the feminist magazine, Fake Silver Earrings,
gave himself a pseudonym for his cleaning column, “Shirley, It’s Time to Clean!”
He writes about getting sweat stains out of frequently worn shirts,
and what to use to get blood off the backseat of taxis.
His real name is Sebastian, but no one calls him that at the office.
All the others are women.
They all like Shirley better.
They all have bets placed on who he tries to sleep with first.
They all say the janitor, Sylvia.
They can all, “just see Sylvia’s stringy blonde hair getting wrapped up in Shirley’s
They all say there’s nothing wrong with losing a bet
when it comes with a man who knows how to get a cum stain
off the lapel of their favorite blazer.
I had a lot of trouble with this poem from the very beginning. It seemed like a mash up of everything I didn't want to write before, but putting it together and reading it over almost made sense. I wanted to play with line breaks and spacing, making every stanza different in more ways than just the story each stanza was telling.
I wanted the first stanza to set the atmosphere and tone of the piece with the funeral, and then towards the end of the stanza bring out the playfulness of the sky responding to the two children, but then contrasting it with the sky being the only one in a panic, and not the two children, and showing that through verbs such as, stuttered, panicked and throw, whereas the diction used for the children was light and almost serene with, "boy and girl in a Chevette left the car listening/ to the mother's patterings."