Unlikely Stories has even ventured into the Goodell world of cosmic trickery and for that I thank you!
Because We Still Eat at a Chinese Buffet
You remember, running down the street in your sister’s prom dress, calling for help thinking that help would always be there, assured, secure, only marginally afraid.
You remember when you truly understood that no help was on the way.
Since then, you find pleasure in your own company and rely on your own mind to occupy you. Since then you grow as the tree, at once into the sky and into the earth.
The lotto numbers on fortune cookies have become your numerology, power found in patterns that have weight due to your will.
Dogs will fight over your remains.
But when you are alone with yourself, there is always one stranger present. Within you is the woman who broke, who was not made stronger by trauma—the woman who grows as the tree, putting out new leaves in the spring, never acquiring permanence, never adequately nourished, a bird trapped by her feet, a man trapped in his tongue.
Friends know her with both eyes open, but see her with one eye shut. She knows that friends are generous because life is cheap. They will give her many gallons of blood before she dies.
Norththe fields of tar are breaking
under copper-smelting towers
and you ask if you can cut me
to make our photos just pyrite
i grab hold of those fences
still formed from ocotillo
and i try to wrap up in them
but they don’t think they’re part of this
so don’t do anything at all
we head east on Montana
back to your mother’s bedroom
where she’s laid out all her gris-gris in hope of keeping me away
you get out your tattoo gun
and you promise me Picasso
but it seems my back’s forgotten
so my hands best push you anywhere but here
where i can see the
scar across your neck the one that
tanglewebs in all directions
like something no doctor has the fingertips to do
since it seems my back has lost a great deal more than your tattoo gun
which didn’t work much better than the spine you still must keep
Outside, the dust storm is starting
the sun is falling down in daylight
we should scamper to lower ground
though we know we’ll never make it
before the grey and brown surround the way
our eyes forget the sunset
our hands forget the how of when we
climbed those yielding rocks
those pieces pointed skyward
to see the tapestry of femicide
a map of smallpox comforts
dust embedded in our teeth
’cause if my hands are forgetful
i think my mouth remembers
how you begged it to cut you
to get the Glamour Shot just right
i would have you die in beauty like a Fante heroine
so please-please when you read to me put down the Earnest Gaines.