My Spite Could Fill a Museum
Tell It to the Birds
I am sick of not winning the National Poetry Series. I am sick of waiting for the mammogram, the ultrasound, the appointment to discuss the results. Tomorrow is the first day of school in the year of our Lord 10x the number of Covid cases as last fall and no online options. In the part of my mind I like to call The Spite Museum, I put each of my manuscripts in a different fairly ugly dress and make a meme: 40 times a bridesmaid, never a bride. But I always hated that saying. Mostly because Never a Bride sounded thrilling, I was killing it there in the Spite Museum as I made one manuscript unwilling to wear a dress, and one breast missing. It went hiking. When I had a child I named her life and when I had another he almost died but then lived so I named him for the echo that falls down where once a river carved stone so the walls carry sound. A good place for a wail. I am sick possibly from the lump but it may also be that this is the time my husband of 22 years decided to tell me a string of lies. I have been kind—his word— and paying very close attention like a wife or something for a year and a half. I understand irony. I hate ironing. Once I, too, had other feelings. I have tried to tone it down. To come clean. Yesterday I walked for two hours without stopping and then I sat down in the water and cried. A heron could care less. An osprey stabbed a fish.
Ekphrasonnet Adding Gray Hair to the Cauldron
My whole childhood I was a skeleton wax castle. My plan: to marry Jake the Alligator Man. I floated my ghost self down the boardwalks, growling at every tourist in our angry coast town, my father his pizza delivery box beer belly Camels cue stick — my mother her darned socks Oh dear a rosary clicking her midwestern teeth & when I was a calf I lived in this thistle-filled pasture so no wonder my adult self is split in half. When I was a girl I lived in this stream When I was a fish I glid my metal-sided dream & borrowed my name from the middle of another country, hail or cloud, they taught us not to mix metaphors, use sailor mouth, or to miss meat, & they will differ——if they do—— as enough to drink from enough to eat