Design by Shannon Boland
Image description: periwinkle grid background with line drawings of sliced onions, orange juice carton, and paper boats.
on eating onions raw
creeping downstairs halfway to dawn
crumbs litter the cold kitchen floor
and i’m in the hallway.
i’m watching myself,
crouching over the counter
the everlasting ritual,
the gas hovering above the stove.
the glow of the refrigerator, a spotlight or a full-length mirror
reflecting skin like my mother’s,
i’m crushing wet cells of watermelons in my hands,
rubbing velvet peach skin between my fingers
and my sister snores upstairs
while the crack
of chicken bones and crisp pastries
escape from behind
do i ascend the stairs with mouth
half full or
and not enough,
and the thin line between the
outside of me and
the inside of me
and squeezing, scooping, tweezing it out to show to my friends,
to prove myself,
i am bereft.
washing it down,
i chance with orange juice
the wetness of it,
sodden and sweet.
to make us happy
I’ll eat polished stones out of your hands
If you close your eyes,
and pretend I’m not here.
Baby, is this happiness or is this settling?
Is this peace or mute discontent,
My head on your thigh and your fingers in my hair,
the sum total of what you’re willing to do to me.
Light from the projector glows silver and empty
and my car is in desperate dewy hands
on your portal of a driveway but I’m
Too distracted by the pillow
that you push onto my knees to keep us from touching
to stick the key into the ignition and light away from this place.
Is that a smile or a grimace,
the little twist in your lips when you look at me?
We’re sitting in a sand pit, a passion deficit.
Look to your left, there’s an archway we can’t pass through
and on your right, another one.
I’m wearing your clothes but we change in separate rooms and all I want to ask is
Am I missing something? Or is it you?
The shrine on your dresser
the letters, cards, folded paper boats, wooden mannequins,
secret scrolls, candles, string,
confessions probably mean nothing.
I’m in Germany on a highway where anything goes, and you’re standing in the middle of it,
waiting for me to run you over.
As if the original sin is holding my foot down on the pedal.
Don’t tell me you think the sky cares.
Trust me, you and I are the only ones watching.
Right now we’re in rocking chairs
Under the eaves of a winter that’s long outstayed its welcome and I’m
Aching to tell you the truth,
The truth being that we don’t deserve anything.
You love cucumbers and soy sauce, banana fish
and ice skating
but you hate jazz
And instead of two parts of a whole
we’re two serrated edges, jagged ceilings.
Popcorn and asbestos.
We’re not evil people. But we don’t know how to be happy either.