A Different Wish

by | Jun 13, 2023 | Issue Thirty-Three, Poetry

Traffic stops in both directions. I cross, past the stem of a truck, a sign of uprootedness. Outside the house where I once lived. Where a truck ponied through thick stems. Now the deprived porch has the power to stop lights, crushes before its crushed, writes drafts of swear words in its spare time. I walk past a man pushing a baby carriage, unbroken eyes, unbroken mouth. I’ve moved across town to another city where I don’t have to re-grow survival, yet listen for the howl. And back here, I smell the rust of the truck, hear the windows exploding. Close my eyes, almost fall on the new sidewalk they just made, a swerved shape to avoid sycamore roots.

                        *

You’re crushed into millefiori too far to see swooshes of who you see.

Blue, orange, red, the way a pool of eyes disappears. You’re unworried for the next square where children kick the soccer ball, screams pulsating. You’re a bowl of oranges. Cut off the eyes, unworry the nubbed surface, unsquare the courtyard tiles. Your a canal running shallow. You’re a pastry shop where they sell almonds ground and frothed into heaven. A girl working at the bookstore said, when your cat dies, you’ll return. Sometimes you wonder if it was just time, not some prediction. You’ll never learn but you made it.

                        *

Yesterday, I swear I could write dialogue, performance where we acted in each other’s short plays. Hats we took from the defunded drama department. Mine a priest talking to a nun, as far as I could get from Jewish. Fractured glasses hitting the ground when they went out for a smoke. Intermission a habit. A pool of blood on stage. That was fifteen years ago. Now I keep wondering if I wrote a different play, would I not have married, would I have completed a Ph.D., would I have opened a lasagna and chocolate cake restaurant like my brother wanted. I wonder if the genesis of poetry sits outside a broken house. If a porch light would grant a different wish.

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