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October 21, 2016 | Poetry

Two Poems

Daniel Bailey

Two Poems photo

MONUMENT

YOU SPECIFY IN YOUR LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT “BURY ME WHERE I STAND” SO THEY REMOVE A CHUNK OF TILES FROM THE FLOOR IN FRONT OF THE GOLDEN PANTRY’S CHECKOUT COUNTER AND THEY SET YOUR FEET AND THE BOTTOMS OF YOUR SHINS IN THE DIRT BELOW

THE REST OF YOU SNAPS AND IS REMOVED

THE TILES ARE REPLACED AFTER THE STUMPS ARE SHORTENED

IT IS LIGHT WIND SEASON, SWAYING TREE SEASON

SOMEWHERE SOMEONE IS WATCHING THE SURVEILLANCE FOOTAGE OF YOUR LIFE, TRYING TO FIND THE MOMENT WHERE

WE DROP AN EGG IN THE PAN AND IT STICKS AND BLOSSOMS AND BURNS AND CANNOT BE SCRAPED OFF

YOU BEGIN TO FEEL THAT ADULTHOOD MUST PRECEDE CHILDHOOD

I ARRIVE TO MEET YOU BUT THE MANAGER OF THE GOLDEN PANTRY HAS ALREADY REPLACED THE TILES

I CHECK THE DUMPSTER OUT BACK BUT YOU ARE NOT THERE

I CHECK THE WOODS BEHIND THE DUMPSTER

I CRAWL THROUGH MANY OBSTACLES: NETTLE AND BRIARS AND BARBED WIRES

I FIND A NEIGHBORHOOD WHICH I ENTER THROUGH A BACKYARD, NEARLY TRIPPING ON A DOG’S CHAIN, NEARLY FALLING INTO A COVERED POOL’S PUDDLE IN WHICH MOSQUITOS BREED

THE MOSQUITOS BELIEVE THAT LIFE IS INFINITE AND SO THEY SAIL AS NEAR TO THE SUN AS THEY CAN MANAGE BEFORE RETURNING

THEY RETURN TO MAKE HOLES IN US

AND TO MAKE NEW MOSQUITOS AS IF TO MAKE NEW CLOUDS

THEY RETURN TO MAKE HOLES IN US

LATE ONE NIGHT YOU ASK ME, “do you think mosquitos make holes that they love? holes that they hope to one day return to?”

I FONDLY REMEMBER NIGHTLIGHTS    ESPECIALLY WHEN SICK

I MOVE BEYOND THE POOL AND BETWEEN TWO HOUSES TO A FOREGROUND TO HOW PEOPLE HAVE BECOME HIDDEN

I FEEL YOU MUST BE NEAR THOUGH I KNOW YOU ARE NOT

I TAP MY CELL PHONE IN THE STREET TO SEE WHERE I AM

I AM NEVER LOST    I SET THE DIRECTIONS TO WALK HOME UNTIL I KNOW WHERE I AM AND I AM STEERED AWAY FROM THE BRAMBLE AND THE BRIAR

I PASS A DOG BEING WALKED BY A WOMAN

WE CLAIM OUR SIDES OF THE STREET AND SAY HELLO

SHE SAYS NICE NIGHT       I SAY I KNOW

YOU SAY OK             AND THE WORLD SAYS I KNOW

THEY SAY MOSQUITOS WILL EAT YOU ALIVE

YOU SAY THAT’S OK THEY NEED ME ALIVE


YOU LIGHT THE CITRONELLA

A DAY AFTER SPRAYING THE BACKYARD WITH PESTICIDES WE DISCOVER THE CORPSES OF INSECTS WE NEVER KNEW EXISTED

THAT SAME DAY YOU WATCH A STUDENT PERFORM A BING IMAGE SEARCH FOR “holocaust gas chambers” WHICH PRODUCES PICTURES OF EMPTY STONE ROOMS

"I bet that shit haunted as fuck," HE SAYS

WE WAIT FOR A MOMENT WHEN IT IS OK TO CELEBRATE

BUT WE CAN’T WAIT

WE ARE DRUNK ALL THE TIME, REGARDLESS

WHY ELSE WOULD WE LET THE TREES GROW SO CROOKED?

WE ARE CAREFUL NOT TO APPLY TOO MUCH CAUTION TO ANY SITUATION

YOU BREAK YOUR TOE BENEATH THE SHUTTING OF THE DOOR

YOU MUST EXPLAIN YOUR BROKENNESS TO THE WORLD

I GIVE YOU A HUG AFTER RECEIVING AN ELECTRIC SHOCK FROM THE WATER HEATER

BY THE TIME WE CELEBRATE THE ELECTRICITY IS ALREADY GONE

WE HAVE BEEN CELEBRATING FOR YEARS

WE LOVE TO CELEBRATE WITH OUR CITY, WHICH IS NEW TO US

WE ARE LEARNING TO CELEBRATE AS THEY CELEBRATE

YOU LIGHT THE CITRONELLA, LET THE MOSQUITOS FIGHT THE FLAME TO FEAST

 

image: Aaron Burch


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