I bought a unicorn. Swapped
it for my work-a-day black
espresso taken with a daily dose
of state-of-the-world and self-disgust.
All sweet-tart pink
powder & blue syrup, topped
with a spiral of pure white cream;
you needn’t tell me no one needs that crap,
the processed sugar & color, short-
chained fats, the plastic cup;
I savored every last drop, followed it up
at the Salvation Army
with a pair of crocheted pants
and a sleeveless fringed tank
2 sizes too large that reads:
love the little things.
Somewhere off Cherokee Road
the hills roll and the azaleas,
dogwoods litter the banks
of the dropped shoulder
with prom dress colors,
like this neck of the woods
was made for sweet sixteen.
Passing through for the first time,
I don’t understand: the Cherokee
never knew this southside
central Virginia suburb
as home; this
was Mattaponi land, or Pamunkey,
not made for pastel-
lined driveways, houses
set back facing the road
after a loud crash of histories.
Where last year’s leaffall
is manicured into groomed mounds
and the latest models
sit sparkling in whitewashed
gravel beds. And yet, the drive
is pleasant enough,
on the smartphone
alerting me of the next turn
off, so that I, as well as the azaleas,
dogwoods, can enjoy the scenery
where the journey ends.
You’ll be better off, they’d say: a room of your own in bed,
even listening for the phone, crumbling cheetohs alone in bed.
Stickily I finger—no one’s home– the remote again,
mirror’s hard lessons lessened by what’s overthrown in bed.
Each season leaves dimpled bruises like Daphne’s flesh,
more pillows mounded like silicone in bed.
The morning sky blushes remembering
all the lands we discovered, places we’d flown in bed.
Tattooed arm slung snoring over rounded hip—
look how softly we’ve grown in bed.
Hands held across shattered glass table,
night’s fight shoved under by what’s still sown in bed.
To hell with what we were taught about hospital corners,
restless feet lash in misery—covers blown in bed.
Open-windowed sirens go wailing unheeded;
day’s guilt a deadweight sunk like stone in bed.
When you close your eyes, doctor,
what sins do you atone in bed?
(When you close your eyes, doctor,
what sins do you condone in bed?)