We Will All Dance

upside-down inside a vase filled with your
water, and when you speak, it will sound
like math, solve for x you will say
as if it has always been that easy, then we dance
and dance with your hair twirled around us
building us up like mummies without tombs,
let us out I will say and I will try to scream it too-
but it sounds like the bubbling of a tea kettle you
left on while you shower, mindless, always
mindless, but we keep dancing even with your hair
suffocating us now, the tea kettle screaming so quietly,
take a deep breath, you say, and we do, again again
until it is redness everywhere like a horizon squinting while
our lungs fill with red, your hair pivoting, bubbling
stops, screaming, fire out, turn off the shower, wet feet,
dripping, a match, slowly, easy, no, quickly- enough.
the redness everywhere with you squinting.

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It Is Black Everywhere Now

I.

Mom is looking sad again-
I’ve got a bad back, she says
but she keeps working
at the restaurant even when it turns
to midnight, one am, two.
She makes lunch and tells
brother it’s iguana, he cries
he’d rather have chicken than iguana.
Mom thinks she’s funny even though she has the sad eyes
again.

Time to go to work says the brown eyes
that look like brothers eyes too.
He cries because she has to leave
mom don’t go
he says, two fingers running away through the holes
in the blue shirt.
When she escapes behind the big white door,
all brother can see is her hair
up in the butterfly clip again, hair like sand
if you’ve never seen sand before.

II.

She paints the walls pink like flamingos
upside down in ash. Brother runs inside,
slamming the big white door behind him
I want walls red like ketchup
he says.
Ok, you want walls red like ketchup.

Sad eyes washes brothers red hair in the tub
with the blue bucket and the yellow
stain sad eyes can’t scrub out.
you are my best friend right mama?
brother is afraid of everything now.

Yes I am your best friend,
brown eyes says when she drains the tub,
she sees black everywhere.

It smells like plastic when mom grabs the needle,
I don’t want to die mom
says brother.
Ok, so you won’t
she says.

Brother pinches the moon
between the index and the thumb
until it disappears on the car ride away
from the biggest white room-

you will be ok now
sad eyes says
even if it is a lie blown
up like a big balloon.

I will be your best friend forever
brother says
even if it is a lie small
like sand.

III.

Sad eyes has cigarettes
in her wrinkles now,
even when brother says
Time to quit now, time to quit,
time to.

Brother is on the floor
now, red over his face
when his body shakes
too hard that his head
forgets to come back up again.

you will be ok now
sad eyes says,
with a big white milkshake
and the plastic smell
shaking in her hands
again.

Sad eyes sits outside
plus one more wrinkle
plus one more shake
in her hands that she can’t shake
this time or the next time-
ok, time to go to work now.

I Know You Can Hear Me

You are the pilot of our rocketship
straight to the earth’s core. Me, I think we can
beat the heat, or hope Lehmann is wrong.

You say you’ve never been afraid of anything, I say
me too.

The best therapy is a bad idea,
but I spill my guts – it doesn’t work.

I am scared there isn’t cell
reception in hell, I’ll have to write a letter,
but the postage is too much from here
to there-

I think of myself in parallel universes,
there I am happy.

The lady in the chair
smiles big like it is her birthday
when I say my head feels like a balloon
that can’t explode.
“cool” she says.

I grab out my heart and tell her
my lady, I am so sorry. She doesn’t hurt,
but she is too occupied with me, buzzing
like something other than a bee, not hibernating like a bear,
swimming like a toucan, submerged like our mouse – my mouse.
We’re going to have to lose her, too.

I have cut the tip of my finger off
with the longest blade over an onion,
the blood drops on mom’s white floor
and it is the rain that had fallen
on Tuesday.

My finger eats cotton. I put cotton in my mouth to hear the rain.
The black cat runs off the porch when I call her
here, kitty, do you know what it means, the Tuesday rain?

I tell the lady with the chair that it rained
on Tuesday, they said it wouldn’t.

“You are a hard worker, too hard, too much, too fast” 

I say, unfortunately, it feels as if I am inside of a soup can.
Ha-ha. I want to make her laugh because it is
the one thing I have left that I haven’t thrown
in the garbage, out the window, in the fire, under the bed,
with the ghosts, with the rain. What do we think about trying
for an exorcism?

Her smile would look best upside down-
why aren’t you sad, lady on the chair.

Now it is the smell of an oven upside down, out of the ash,
the end of a rope, the fish line broke, the spring, the hammer,
the catch, don’t read the note, the holding bar —
the lady on top of the chair
is The best when she is suffering.

Time

I waited
up
for you,

check
the time

mindful
forgetfulness,
you tell
me
to find
a better use
of my
time

the clock
distorts
reality,
a construct
made up
in your head,
my head,

when it used to be
our head,

when you
called
me
ten-
eleven
times
in two
hours

the pause
is long
now

your
disuse
binds
us

a fictional
cord
tying you
to me,
to me
to you.

you said
I wasn’t
like
you

that’s
why we
don’t
touch
anymore.

The Day the Cat Died

The day the cat died,
you sat on a stool
in the bathroom
crying

I asked my mother
why you were crying

she said
because the cat died

no,
I said

that’s going to be me,
you said

you didn’t look once
at the cat we had
for twelve years,
the cat that hid
behind the couch
each time
you came home

you cried
in the bathroom
on the stool
with painted balloons
and carousel horses
not wanting to die
like the cat
that laid on the floor
on a blanket
in my bedroom

then I waited
for you to die,
just like the cat
with the brown and orange fur
and you did,
but I did not
sit on the stool
in the bathroom
to cry over you
or the dead cat
you didn’t want to bury
in the backyard

instead
I counted the hours
until the sun came up
without you
for the first time
dividing you
and I.

here/where

you
pick
up your phone

to call
her

and I laugh

here I am

I still
let you
fuck me.

her voice

sounds
like a
previous
me

before

I cut
my hair
off

before

I tried
to sleep
off
you sleeping
with her.

you tell her
i’m here

you laugh

roll your eyes

I get dressed.

you tell me
not
to leave,

i’m putting
my shoes on

you check
your phone
again
to see
if it’s her.

where am I