inspired by the Congressional hearing of Christine Blasey Ford
In a room smaller than
it seems spread thin across screens
streaming around the nation
and 27 years since last,
they ask about the fear of flying.
A pressurized metal tube traveling impossibly
at 20,000 feet at 500 miles per hour, sipping
Diet Coke and working your jaw
to pop your ears. Reasonable to be
scared of flight—well, reasonable to
be scared of falling. But if you are scared of
why two doors in your home
why not say something sooner
why not say something then
why can’t you remember how you got there
why doesn’t he/she
he was seventeen and now
it’s a case of
he said, she screamed
and the music was turned up louder
how are you here today?
You must not be afraid of falling.
(Thank you for taking the plunge.)
In My Neighborhood Wal-Mart
I find some of the most
places in the world to be
the missing persons boards
How much hope they have—
that a casual shopper
a harried mother in sweatpants
and a bedlam T-shirt, two and a half
children hanging from her forearms
as she pushes a cloud of dreamy plastic bags
soft swaths of white cushioning toilet paper
laundry detergent and Lunchables
will glance at the image, think, “oh,
yes, I have seen that face; I avoided eye
contact with it at the liquor store last Friday.”
One image stands out in black and white,
red stating ONLY PHOTO AVAILABLE
at the lower margin of the young woman’s stern
face, smudged by low quality. Her eyes
not quite focused, looking at something past
the camera, perhaps at the beginning of the eighties, of
when she went missing. And
in the upper right corner, digitally produced,
a photo of what she would look like now, in sharper image
than her existence: older,
chunkier, hair short and shot through with
gentle blonde highlights, lines from age and smiling—
the photo of a woman who went missing
and proceeded to live life, have a family,
gain enough years to gain the hairstyle middle
aged women seem to inevitably choose.
How optimistic to will her into the present with an image
like a photo from the teachers’ page of a yearbook.
How optimistic to not, instead, write AGE PROGRESSED
over a picture of leaves and dirt
God is Your Mother Who Creates Miniatures
when you peek around the corner
she is working on planets in a galaxy
spread across rough-hewn wood,
“The Milky Way”.
you wonder if the name was stripped
from chocolate wrappers strewn about the floor
wonder about the legalities—
if the name falls under fair use if
she won’t make money off of it
but others will because, well,
a pinprick is visible between the thumb
and pointer finger of her right
hand, her left dusting it with sugar-fine
ice and you half expect her to
swallow it whole
instead she extends
and places the pinprick far from the warmth
chest. the ring on her finger knocks
“earth” slightly on its axis.
she doesn’t notice or she doesn’t care,
or maybe it was intentional,
or maybe it was an accident and she’ll say it was intentional,
you never can tell with her.
you like “earth”.
she let you hold it once;
its water tickled your fingertips, dampened
the land as your thumb skimmed it, the crevices
of your skin stenciling mud.
you felt the growth of lifelines across
its palm, holding hands
with the swells of mountains until
a sudden prick on your finger pulled crimson
puddling between knuckles;
you sucked the blood,
iron and steel kissing your tongue.
“why did you add a needle to earth?”
soft smile, never breaking her staring contest with jupiter.
she hunches when she works,
completely negating the expensive
chair designed to provide
good lumbar support.
even though it's her fault:
“it’s the devil”
as she stretches her spine
like a serpent.