Friday, December 2

the levitating city bus

(a tale of wonder)

Here she is, a mouse in a trap,
  bright-eyed in a hotel, scattered cheese, Mona-Lisa smile.
I haven't got a chance. This stuff is dangerous.

four girls already, sharp enough to cut myself on, bruising
   my limbs on mirrors and machines,
       hiding under (four, six, ten, fourteen.)

It was February and everything was touched with grey
   ice-blue, dirty snow and white. My snowcapped dresses and angel-skirts
      fluttering and coiny, trying so hard to be

like the clouds at the lake where we walked. You on your cell phone,
   preoccupied, barely talking, and me running ahead
       chirping at you like a little bird. I told you I had wings,

I was secretly a fish, a pegasus, a dream you're having
   but you'd only nod your head and ask
       the person on the other line about the litigation. I pressed

forward, taking off my heels and climbing on rocks. One evening
    you and I waited for trains in a cloud of fog, out of earshot of everyone,
        silent, until the train came rattling in and absorbed us. Movement is holy,

though I'd travelled nowhere, and the trip across the county
   took all day. I dressed up, a new bow, a ring
      that really looked like a diamond.

a bottle of perfume on my dresser, an embroidered handkerchief
    in my suitcase, the levitating city bus come to take me where you're waiting
      leaning on your car. The whole night I couldn't sleep, Nina Simone

singing in my head, "like a leaf clings to a tree, darling cling to me;"
    and my dress too strange around my legs for me to rest,
       and your face like the rind of an orange against mine

hell is a long time, and the lights don't flicker like a dormatory,
    like a street alley, all those horrid places
        (breathe deep into the blanket, close your eyes
all I hear is the hushing sound of blood through veins.)

I've got this cold untouchable water, the sound of the rails
  and the toxic drip through the bridge wall;
    dirt on my knees where I climbed to enjoy a solitary picnic

amongst the graffiti. You've got cold tile, the grins
   under hotel lights that I want so bad,
      clawing through the rented pillows and liquor cabinet

I've got you, I've got you. I am a balloon bloating
    ragged through this booby-trapped world. I get consumed. I dull
       but now and then you cut through the cataracts and I wake,

delighted and ashamed

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