‘It was cute 20 years ago’ he says
‘It was never cute’ I say
She's crying again
Naked, grabbing strange men and old women
forcing her bloated mouth on theirs
and now she's crying on my birthday
Maybe because it's not her birthday
Maybe because the bath water went cold hours ago, and she can't get out
Maybe because all the bottles are dry
or her brain is wet
It was only cute when we could laugh later
She'd drink water and even eat a vegetable
now her pants don't fit
It's not from ice cream
Her hands shake
She doesn't remember
it's not cute anymore
Names are spoken in low voices
Deep lines between our brows form
We try to hold our breath, so the memories do not escape us
We look for signs, for something to hold onto again
The passage to enter is cold and scarcely mentioned
Clutching the shreds of a shirt
I imagine its occupant is in there somewhere
So my spouse is a shut-in who has been reveling in the sheltering-in-place orders
So much so that he,
just the other day,
made me stroke his hair to feel how healthy it had become due to the “lack of social obligations”
He firmly believes that his ability to nap and snack, at will, have contributed to the strength of each follicle.
He admires the shine and strength of his hair like it was something he cultivated with apt skills.
Meanwhile I go out, each day, to scavenge and fight,
like a sewer rat,
in order to bring home the bacon.
I come home, masked and sweaty from effort, with his nicotine vape pods, English peas, and special ramen
having fought others
for such luxury items
only to stroke his hair
and hear about how
this is the way of living we must all embrace
“I don’t wanna think about the silverfish!”
I tell him.
But I do
I think about them anyways
I think about them eating dried skin flakes
Discarded pieces of my largest organ
I’ve been in this bed for days
The smell of sweat and of ass and of drool envelope me
I haven’t showered in two weeks
Please don’t tell anyone
The skin under my breasts smells like mold
And I bet the silverfish are loving this
These kids don't talk!
They're retarded! He shouts
He embarrasses me more and more these days
The greying of his beard
Is seeping into his thoughts
You can't say that
My sister's retarded!
I know, but
You're not Lenny Bruce, and things have changed
Besides the kids are gentler these days
Don't you want that?
A gentler world?
He's deflated now.
And it's not any fun
Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.
Today Lindsey Hanson visits us for the first time with her fine poetry, and thank you to her for that! Lindsey is in a master’s program for museum studies, and makes art in San Francisco. You can see some of her work here: Instagram.com/creaturesbylindsey/. Welcome to the Kitchen, Lindsey, and don’t be a stranger!
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