Somewhere beyond the desert
of steeples, is a fingerprint of mold
on a white picket fence no one paints
over. Pollen stains caterpillar nests
like bacteria under a microscope,
each border made visible and ominous.
Sunlight pours through the morning
wash. Linens absorb dandelion, crocus,
rose—diligent students pinned
to a clothesline, as a toddler jumps
learning from the first grasshopper
it sees. This is what I think about
while wearing gloves in April. Jumping
like a toddler because there’s no better
way to express surprise. Of course,
I could be a mother. Of course,
the child is not mine, but my cousin’s
- a reminder to graduate from subway
to SUV, a gesture of adulting.
Yesterday, I opened a cab door
and was greeted with lavender.
It wasn’t a date. The cab had two kinds
of bamboo and behind the driver’s
head, flowers, a conical bowl with three
goldfish, leaning as I did into sharp
right turns. The thing to say now
is a picture is worth a thousand words.
Or to say, my phone has a glass eye,
and what I saw requires more words
than I know. The thing is I believe
in red nylons coiled like a blood clot
on the ground. You can never
be too quiet. What I mean is,
my grandparents are tucked under
hard sheets of grass. I watched
their children writhe like earthworms
at the news of their passing. I wanted
to be a famous choreographer, wanted
to take someone’s breath away
and never return. Whatever they did
next would be sublime romance.
But that has yet to happen. Only men
who block the sunset and wear
alligator shoes. Only carnal
disappointments and seeds spit
into nights freckled by lightning bugs.
this carpetbagger still sings hymns
when nervous. I pick my nylons
off the floor, start to iron clothes
for work then stop. Sometimes,
I think my mind is a river.
And the moon is just a nipple poking
through dark tunics of sky.