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September 29, 2015 Poetry

Five Poems

Annalise Mabe

Five Poems photo

Florida’s Fever Dreams


Twelve o’clock blinks on the coffee maker.
It’s zero, colon, zero, zero
            on the microwave, four blank dashes
            on the Panasonic video
            player, and my cell phone is dead.
            This is lost at sea.


I get a call that my sister is pregnant,
          my grandmother is dying
          in Long Island.

          She won’t leave her house.


My sister lost the baby and grandmother
          passed in her sleep,
               on the eve of her ninety-second birth


I see
my own girl, full and soft,
          and I can’t breathe;

my own pearl I’ve cultivated from salt
and sea,
         wet lashes blinking at me.

On Going Back

A twenty-four year old woman writes to men
when she can’t sleep: Hey, what’s up? How are you?
as her body creaks on the spring mattress, sighing
soft like voices from a television left on.
She types letters to the boy from the skatepark,
the recluse with the same name as a Beach Boy,
to the film photographer who wouldn’t take her back.

Plutarch, when you wrote on the Theseus Paradox,
the story of the ship’s planks that were replaced one
by one, did you think there could be two ships, then?
The pile of wood and the polished replica? Did you
wonder about your own finite cells, how they off
themselves nearly every seven years? If cells
are to planks, then wouldn’t we have many paths
under our name?

My cellphone rings on the kitchen counter. I’m prepping
salmon for my husband who folds our business clothes
in the bedroom. An ex says: I made a mistake. It’s always
been you.
How do I tell him
that I’d send one of my selves back if I could find them?
How do I explain that each one, each love, had a cell
in my skin, living in the land mines of my fibers?

I flop the fish in the popping skillet. I have to go.
A thought runs round:
there is no going back.

Rotten Ones

Outside the bar, I walk with a purpose,
ask the kid in tie-dye shirt:

Can I borrow a cigarette?

                       I don’t think that’s possible, but you can have one

He looks like my teacher. He looks like a guy
I used to know. I used to smoke these,
but I forgot with which guy it was

Lamp posts greet my driving
home, like ghost yard graves, like orbs
that say: we aren’t all bad

& in the drive, I don’t expect his white car

        inside, I wash with closing eyes,

with soaping, dirty drops on porcelain,
brushing fingernails, trying to get clean

though I wanted to sit with the smell
a little longer


Ripe Hour

Faith is a party you weren’t invited to, and God is a man

in a sheet with poked eyes to see;
                                                             you want to believe.

Saturday is pouring whiskey in the movie-Coke Slushy,
          & almost crying when they dump the blood on Carrie,

          or waking up to it happening, your hands
          on the ribbed, white wife-beater you weren’t wearing before.

College! Is the newly weaned teens screaming outside your bedroom window
          saying: WATCH OUT, we are the winners.

And quarter to midnight is you can’t sleep: so you pave
          your drive, pick up star leaves, taking dust crumbs
to the trash, knowing
it won’t stay clean



It’s your birthday: Claire De Lune is playing                                                                                                                                                           on an organ inside of the Tiki bar

while you watch water pour down
the sides of the windows
from the bow of the faux boat.

Crescendo keys fall on your neck,
make you think of what a dick
you were to your parents,

          how their hairs gone gray,
how they’ve got these wrinkles
that came one day while you
were away at school.

You’re lost in the works, all the way in black
and you’ll disappear like you always do

You’re so good at being what we want you to be

The keys go again like the jewelry-box
ballerina who spins when you open the lid,

when you see her going like the light in the fridge,
open and running all the time


image: Aaron Burch