Rooms-full-of-old-toys-and-decay-at-abandoned-manor-house

My first memory

was my dog dragging a dead rat into my bedroom.

Mom walked in

I played with my limp toy.

Its polished eye watched,

she scolded the pup.

Showered, I sat on dusty carpet and listened;

the owl clock above the sink.

Her cracked hands washed green dishes

while the metal walls of our trailer

trickled into my veins drop after

drop,

after drop.

 

th

 

 

I could still walk into that house and smell leather,

the sweet odor cracked into peach wall paper

that closed in on my body

until I vomited fields of soy beans.

Outside of the rows,

I’d pick wild berries.

An almanac cautioned

about Indian strawberries–

I feared that as the juice dripped

down my hollow mouth,

I’d surely die.

God didn’t want kids like

me.

Years passed.

I sat on a train in New York

where I read a columnist

who declared that just because

consumption of a wild berry is

not recommended,

that does not indicate that the

fruit

contains poison.

 

road

 

The road was a flat sheet,

a Nascar announcer’s voice

between waves of static. Corn,

shriveled from unseasonable drought,

I waved at the oil wells we passed

and counted them through the window

 

crunched with brown grass as I laid

in a ditch, among fields of broken glass

and found the station wagon,

now upside down, Garth Brooks-

from out of nowhere

another field of soybeans dried

 

until the following week when it rained

and our crops drowned.

Grandma told us

next summer we’d replant tomatoes.

That fall,

I pulled sharp slivers out of my hair

piece after piece.

Smoke

Curiosity Doesn’t Always Sneak Around Killing Cats

 

On Friday nights

she puts on Ariats,

clouds of smoke,

clanking shot glasses.

 

She prefers to recline in a dryer chair,

pink lemonade.

At the gas station

practicing checkers,

a pitcher of sun tea. Between lips–

 

bedsheets hung out to dry

through a tiny hole in a

sturdy backyard fence. A brick

church, polished pews,

she tilts her head,

listens–

                silence.

01022_grass

Landscaping

 

The summer after we planted

Bermuda grass (for the second season),

it grew up yellow and brown,

crunching under our bare feet.

We rented a townhouse

with gravel covering the backyard,

our lawnmower sat rusting,

rainwater infiltrated the motor

until the engine would no longer

turnover; the machine rested

in our front yard and bothered our neighbor,

 

whose Pink Double Knockouts flourished

despite the atrocity. My husband admired

her vibrant bushes. He frequented other yards,

rustic fountains with circular drives,

embedded in Kentucky Bluegrass

and stone patios adorned with

rows of Black Knight Butterfly bushes.

I stared out of the kitchen

window at grey pebbles

and signed divorce papers with a pen,

(attached to a plastic flower).

I hear,

He still enjoys wandering into yards

to appreciate gardens he will never obtain.

cheapdate

I laughed,

because I always laugh

at poorly executed jokes,

and drowned as Armani cologne

soaked. His shirt,

didn’t match.

But I’m not one to judge fashion

or drink too much wine

while he recited facts

Googled–probably while

he was in line at a scummy gas station

buying condoms

as though I wouldn’t

put him out like the orange end of my

Marlboro Red, stuck between lips

then thrown down.

I stomped it with the heel

of my stiletto,

this ensured the flame

was quite

extinguished.

MARY

Mary had a little piece of lamb chop

left over from lunch

that she weighed on a white kitchen scale,

when all she really wanted was a tangy plate of barbeque

so greasy that her palm would grow wet from the moisture seeping through

her paper plate.


Her fleece,

an old, white pullover—

purchased second-hand,

at the Goodwill store down the road.


Everywhere that Mary went

her children had to go.

They bickered as she cooked dinner,

cried for another piece of candy,

and begged to eat Mc Donald’s

all the way to the bathroom where she barricaded herself

with a shot of vodka and a 2012 issue of Cosmopolitan

turned to “8 Ways to Dramatically Improve Your Sex Life.”

She cringed at each rhythmic knock on the door.


Mary had a small tear that almost formed

as she sat on her hands and knees for exactly one hour and twelve minutes

on a Friday evening

with a butter knife

scraping dried raisin spice oatmeal off of her kitchen floor

because she could not clean it up that morning

as she had to leave to drop off her children

and be at work on time–


Breathe,

because you are still not as drained as Mary.

I am not Mary,

I will write about Mary

And burn my index finger on a frying pan

thinking about Mary,

but I am not–


Mary had a grilled chicken salad the next afternoon

because she was eating lunch with friends

who also ate green, leafy salads,

and she never told them

that hidden in her Coach purse

was a Double Quarter Pounder.

Because she usually kept a Double Quarter Pounder handy,

just in case she was asked to lunch by friends who only ate salads.

Mary came home and checked Facebook

Where she saw a mother of three,

an airbrushed tan and a six pack

preaching to her,

“There’s no excuse mom,”


Her bedroom mirror accused her,

stretchmarks,

muffin top,

highlighted by black canyons under her eyes.

that night,

she slept,

and dreamed

that she stared into waves of Sharks,

with four attachments

and a retractable cord.

me punching adam

My ex-husband,

and still I wonder how many lady friends lingered

now that his child support and alimony

has reduced him to candlelight and Ramen Noodles.

Asshole.


My ex-husband’s mistresses,

life is not a Harlequin romance and he is not Hugh Hefner.


My ex-mother in law,

I guess I would be a troll too,

if I had nothing better to do

than hang out in my son’s basement

and peek upstairs to yell that the kids are too loud.


The lady who drives the blue minivan in the car rider line,

(keep honkin’, I can’t go any faster than the person in front of me).


People who leave flyers on my car,

if the silver crown appliqué reading, “Tiny Miss” doesn’t clue you in,

the bright yellow, “Baby on Board,” sticker should denote

that my demographic is not interested in attending the

green-laser trance party on Saturday night,

even if you are serving free beer.


The creator of Frozen,

more specifically, the writer of “Let it Go.”


Moms that look at me funny when I climb trees at the park,

let my children keep thinking that we go so that they can play.


The guy who hits on me at my kids’ Tae Kwon Do lessons

“Well, I haven’t seen you around this DoJo before,”

is not an effective pick-up line.


People who steal my chocolate,

my husband,

but only when he tries to steal my chocolate.


“Mom”petitors, I could care less about your 8-yr old’s full scholarship to Yale.

What concerns me?

The glowing green glob of mucus fresh from his nose

that he wiped on my child’s shirt.


The guy who bikes down Deacon road at 8:15 A.M. Monday through Friday

and refuses to stay in the bike rider lane.


That dimple-cheeked momma’s boy

who wears ironed socks and is never wrong,

who will try to make one of my daughters feel as though

she is no better than tiny pieces of dirt stuck on the bottom of his Nike shoes,

I will hunt you down.


and that preppy blonde who will tease one of my sons

and bitch at him because he said her name the wrong way,


as she strolls down a velvet aisle covered in hundred dollar rose petals

and her five-thousand dollar Tadashi dress.

I turn my grimace into a graceful smile,

bite my tounge,

and admire her boquet:

fake,

yellow roses.

canyondiabledragon

He speaks to her in sonnets– now,

written by Browning.

The edges of paper singed by moonlight.

He pulls a round container from his pocket,

dips his last bit of Skoal.


Words pour from his mouth,

flames from a menacing dragon

melting as they settle upon

butter-cream sand


and chafe the bottom of her smooth feet,

her eyes darkened like coal,

her mind dehydrated,

she walks quickly by the pink adobe house,

abandoned.


She reaches her grey Oldsmobile,

and closes its door,

the kind of thundering silence

that often foreshadows initial drops of salty rain,


the first to land softly on the dry sand

and run freely across its rigid surface.