I am the high heel
I am the tight top
I am the fleshy rolls
I am the smell of melting plastic and
Forwarded stories of eaten faces.
I am the bev nap
placed neatly underneath
the mojito you ordered.
I am the clogs
choked with sand
that hustle those dunes
getting your perfect,
into your dismissive paw
I am Carl. I am Jim. I am
I am not a rich kid, skipping class
beneath the comforting canopy
of waxy, white Magnolia.
I am not bone dry under the impenetrable
umbrella of Old Money.
I do not miss the red line
or the soft hiss of snowflakes.
I ask, as you sit here, white knuckling
if you would have attended a show
with a topic like
and sat around
drooling out stories about outsourced
livelihoods and babies nursing
black water bottles.
You think I am
High on oxy contin.
But I am steadfast, thick skinned as a
I am staked by a mangrove spine.
I nod. I laugh.
You mistake the space I give.
I am a shark turning a tightening circle
around your foreign, tourist hands
that snap pieces off of my
reefs to decorate your ten gallon
in New Jersey.
I am the 35%
of Florida residents
that were born here.
The others? The rest?
I am not so stupid as to think
that there are words I
to neutralize your hatred.
I imagine my name
is a razor blade
against your tongue.
the memory of my taste
induces your gag reflex.
That your skin crawls.
That, with eyes closed,
if you were to describe me,
I’d be rendered in black strokes
the spiders trapped on my
That my face is an eyeless oval.
My ears, sharp and canine, pricked
My laugh, if it echoes in your mind:
Rabbits screaming, shattering windows.
My voice, just a memory of perpetual,
The shards that collect
around your black boots,
are sets of jagged teeth that
and chase your retreat.
You’ve extended far too much credit.
I cannot recognize
that my actions have consequences.
You’ve been charitable if, in your mind,
my role in the slow-clicking reel
of your memory
I’m not an organized murderer.
I leave prints on the sills of windows.
My feet are bare and, tracking blood,
print sloppy, pointing arrows.
There are keys jingling, a clicking lock
I look up into soft eyes,
You think you have caught me.
You think you can cost me.
Your tunnel vision, so bent on revenge,
never even considered that I
looked around this crime scene
that I wanted you to get out
These unanswered texts have become my journal entries. You said that to me once. I write your phone and then copy and paste it into my journal. It’s a bastardized version of a quote by Cohen, my version- a ninety degree pivot:
“This is not the book I meant to read you when we were old”.
It is not, absolutely. My son is knee deep in Netflix, my company is kept by a beer, a twisted gut and the rising tide of anxiety I feel, an acid burn of bile in my throat.
I bought him a heap of school clothes today. Desperate for something tangible that proves my fitness as a parent. Polo shirts. Penny loafers. Shorts with pleats. Preppy clothes that pass through the mind of his school mates, completely neutral. Nothing the teeth of a cruel child could sink into.
I dress him like we are still in Boston, whereas I have reverted to my cowboy boots and short shorts and weird rural/indie/punky vibe. I’m stripping my hair Saturday, bright like a penny. I found fake gauges I wear in my ears. I’m thin as a willow tree, and I whip branches in strong wind, slinging leaves to and fro. I scatter blooms. I am desperate to at least resemble a completely different person. I’m considering a tattoo. When in Rome, I reckon?
I gardened, manically, for a bit, a few months ago and my frantic efforts have come to fruition. Sunflowers with heavy heads, a pot of cilantro – straining towards the sun. The trellises that flank my front door are covered with black-eyed-susan vines. Fully six feet tall, thick with blooms. On the ledge of the jalousie windows in my bedroom the same susan vines drape towards the floor, a pot every two feet. In a few months they will bloom and my room will be flanked by flowers.
A funeral home for my prone, perpetually-exhausted form. Fitting. Accurate.
My only child will be gone from my house on the 12th of August. School is starting and our ritual: breakfast-lunch-dinner will leave with him. The quiet, comforting grind of full-time parenting will expire.
Second beer now. Smoking in the house as I’m still in this sweeping vintage night dress. It’s noon now, lunch will be late.
For the first time in weeks the heat index might drop below 105, as the thunderstorms burn the clouds black. Our dog is barking at the neighbors. My son’s black cat is lithe as he stalks the tumbleweeds of her shedding puppy coat.
It is Wednesday, I am in a town I swore I’d never return to, and my eyes roll skyward, as I anticipate a storm.