Milk and Cookies

Darling,

stop

inviting hitchhikers over for milk and cookies,

their smell stays long after they are gone,

stuck on our white couches and matching cardigans.

The carpet gets soggy as the warm rain keeps us awake

underneath the bridge and crystal chandelier.

The walls blow away when the bomb explodes during prayer time.

It scares the puppies each time.

The screaming as the water rises, entering the gaping mouths…

it all gives me nightmares.

I have nothing to say to them,

Darling.

We are out of milk and cookies.

 

 

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Broken T.V.

We drive 3 hours to buy a T.V.

with a broken screen, to watch cooking shows at dawn,

when the bats fly back to their caves and under bridges

that we traverse,

secretly fearing that it will crumble,

the river below

swallowing us whole, taking our bodies,

still strapped with our life-protecting seatbelts,

out to the ocean

for the sharks and octopi,

to play…

but we don’t think about this as we stop

for breakfast sandwiches and black coffee

on our way to buy a T.V.

with a broken screen

to watch cooking shows,

at dawn,

even though we don’t have electricity

in our apartment

and

I don’t even know how to toast bread

without burning it to a crisp,

yet we drive and drive and drive

listening to disco music

and thinking about the journey back.

2 by 2

Intertwining fingers, sharing meals and updating relationship statuses, it was all happening as she stood there, her lonely hand tingling, her hard eyes witnessing the coupling of people like puzzle pieces.

Even the sad people she’d dismissed as doomed to be alone were finding love.

It was as if people were preparing for the Great Flood, pairing up to board Noah’s Ark.

Yet, she was still partnerless and loveless!

Maybe she is Noah in this scenario and her prince charming would be lured in by her impressive carpentry skills.

But no, she thinks. Spending countless hours pounding nails into wooden boards just isn’t her calling.

Maybe she is destined to be alone, in the midst of all the couples and partners and pairs,

the sole white dove looking for safety and stability, possessing only a single olive branch, thinking that everything will be alright.

Ansiedad

I gave birth to my daughter as I sat on the steps of the library, the rain soaking through my gray wool socks and spattering on my glasses. She materialized from my breath vapor, appearing in front of me in her black skintight turtleneck and pale skin. Ansiedad, that’s her name. She took my worries from me, carried them in the old leather suitcase she found behind the Chinese restaurant downtown, the one that I took her to on the rainy day of her birth, the one where we discovered her love for egg drop soup. I’ve never told her I loved her or served her warm cookies with milk. She crawled into my bed late last night, and stared at me, her little finger tracing the outlines of my lips. My eyelids were too heavy to stay open; sleep was a thick blanket into which I disappeared. Sometimes, I imagine her on a train, my worries bouncing slightly in the suitcase on the worn seat, the world passing by in a blur outside the window. I imagine her tucking herself to sleep, bringing her bony knees to her chest and falling into a dreamless black nothing. When I look in the mirror, I see the black circles under my eyes and wonder if she has them too, my daughter. I tried to look for her. I went to the market on the corner of Hill and Slide, to the abandoned theme park by the rotting pier, even to the smelly movie theater.  Ansiedad , I cried as I stood in the middle of the tall pines of the forest, hearing my voice slipping though the spaces between the trees. Since she left me, I do not worry, she took that ability away. I cry, I laugh, I sputter but I do not worry. I visit the Chinese restaurant, the one that I took Ansiedad to on the day of her birth. The red pleather seat squeaks as I slide into the booth, the air slightly thickened with cigarette smoke and the smell of eggrolls. The egg drop soup is as warm and salty as I remember. The foolish thing is that I expect my daughter to round the corner, holding the old leather suitcase in her delicate hand. I expect her to give me back my worries. I expect her to return to me as she came, materializing into breath vapor. Inhaled, then exhaled.

Free Spirit

Wet kisses down the curved spine of her back,

shivers, shudders,

curled white fingers, nails biting into her skin,

it’s too late.

In the morning, she feels it,

the pull of the shrouded mountains to the east.

Front door left open, leaves blowing in,

floating into dusty teacups.

The grandfather clock tells time to the yellowing wallpaper,

ignorant of

seconds,

minutes,

hours.

The chill is piercing, her feet are bare.

She climbs a tree.

Up, up, up,

above the canopy of clouds,

audience to the retreating sun and the chasing moon.

 

Her hairs whips her stinging face.

Old and white, her husband searches are fruitless,

his calls echo against the pines, against the deaf mountain.

A bird, black as the ocean depths,

circles, round and round, above the house

abandoned by the woman that long ago

morning.

A quick flash of a wing outside the window,

a glimpse is all the husband sees,

then the shine,

beckoning him, come.

On the sill, a perfectly round gold band,

her wedding ring,

ruins of a broken marriage.