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November 20, 2020 Poetry

Three Poems

Mariah Bosch

Three Poems photo

Algo - 

I am precise for the machine: tenderness+immediate? Did you 
mean tenderness immediately? cheap+recipe+

for+one. when+you+sit+down+and+they+look+
at+you+like+that. libra+[
you you]+compatibility.

synonym+light. synonym+dream. cutting+
your+own+hair. waking+up+out+of+breath.

Can you feel me now? What do I have 
to unknow to free space? I play smart. Not lost, 

teaching machine. The machine suggests 
hammock vacations / silk shirts / low low interest 

rates. It asks Did you mean before I mean.
Say my name when you answer directly 

into me, no hand in your hand. Lately, I’m 
lightsensitive and can’t look for long. How, 

machine, can I be so sure again? Run
certainty.exe. Run forgiveness.exe. 

In forgiveness: more zeroes than ones,
more open unfilled — I leave

into ones / not only ones / I’m the only one
in all of these ones and what am I finding 

but used code and unused space. I can’t give any data:
o zeroed o machined ancipationed o useless.


[  ]th Birthday 

A giant chocolate swiss roll with fake green ice cream
instead of white fluff - my grandfather and I 
cut it in the kitchen, not sure whose kitchen,
and no one liked the flavor but us — blue 1 + yellow 5 
= this mint chip memory I have, swirled between layers of cake

and rolled by a teenager, boxed up pretty, put in a freezer,
& selected by my parents for my [  ]th birthday —
maybe they debated
let’s get a flavor everyone likes
or it was settled, from the house to the car to the store and back
to someone’s kitchen freezer, then to the counter after it unmelted.

It has to be this greenway or it doesn’t taste right:
without blue 1 and yellow 5, it won’t stay on my tongue, 
like the fluorescence at the drugstore counter,
a perfect cylinder punched from the tub
and shoved onto a sugar cone. I want to be this green

if I can be wrapped up in a cake like that for someone’s 
(grand)daughter to set it on the counter and cut 
with their grandpa’s hand on the knife at the same time:
I’ll be in a cellophane box so you can see my green — 
I want to be all green and melting if that’s how I rearrive

at the party with a hand over a hand carefully slicing 
and floating a piece onto a paper plate to dig into
and celebrate — I just want to celebrate again,
there don’t have to be any presents, not even a candle —
just green all swirled cellophaned mint pretty.



I PANTONE 18-1658 TCX my finger open and can’t remember if it’s hot or cold water that stops it,
I watch it red on porcelain. Salt could stop it: home from school
after losing a tooth, my father hands me the Morton can. The little girls 
in the mirror stop the blood & go back to school,
PANTONE 18-1658 TCXless

Someone asks me Can you tell me things about myself? after I tell him 
he’s a Gemini. I say No, but there’s two of you. Imagine both in a room 
with me. I wear PANTONE 032 EC silk. I kiss them, they’re blotched  
and marked on each cheek while my face drains of want.

I run through the neighborhood and my body pulses: a fat heart 
but I want it small. I look in the mirror at it while I talk on the phone, 
talking not about it but to it. There’s only so much space for me
and this body: I let it be
PANTONE 7621 C and working, I unPANTONE 7621 C, stretch on the floor.

Wearing lipstick for once, I film myself dancing in front 
of the mirror. It’s a plump cherried moon, I put my shoulders
into it. I smile across a dance floor at no one, at everyone — 
I’m on a loop, mouth stained
PANTONE 207 C and flared pants obvious.

The stars are getting so big and bright that I can’t ignore them and I tell whoever 
next to me in this dream exactly that. I think they’re going to crush me,
pin me to the cement and I’ll splatter, cartooned
PANTONE 3517 C. 
I start breathing faster as if to suck in the stars, and my face glows because it’s working.


image: Aaron Burch