Dream of Pink Victrolas

Ann-Marie Blanchard

(poppy)  do  you  remember when i asked you
to  take  two  parts  pomegranate  juice to one
part granulated sugar  so you  pulled out your
teeth and placed them on a sheet of butcher’s
paper?   the   continents  of  bone—teeth  are
bone.  no  teeth are not bone—were too white
for  our  liking so we cut the violet vein of your
little  wrist  and  bled  you  out  till we were too
tired   to  laugh.   heat  until  sugar  melts.  we
slept;  your  blood  kept  me  warm.   but  wait,
what  color  was it when you first put it to your
lips,  when  you  were  just  a  little, when  you
were just so little,  when  he  said  you  should
stay little. but you didn’t.

B&E Queen of the ’70s

6. Yellow  crazy  ants  tramp  trails  across
my skull.

5. Kimble says, “Maybe it won’t hurt baby—just
one hit.” We’re already on foot. King’s Cross is
hot   with   girls   and  boys  ready  to  suck  for
change. We, like them, don’t have a dollar, but
you   don’t  need  dough  to  steal  a  pethidine

4. Ahead,  Kimble  walks, his kid’s shirt reveals
his  tormented  spine.  I  want  to  feed him and
fuck  him.  Over  his  shoulder  he  looks at me,
his   pupils  as  fat  as  an  eccy  high  from  his
heroin  absence;  what  I  see  in  that  pit is the
soul of a man who accepts slavery.

3. On  the  Western  Line to Kingswood, we say
nothing,  then  say  too  much;  weep tears that
tear. He says his mum believed he would be a
pharmacist  when  he  grew  up.  We  laugh but
not  hard.  Teens  board. Reek  of  weed. Look
for  a weak being who they can roll. Seeing our
junky  sweats they cough up the mucus in their
lungs   that   we’ve  become.  Spit  gunk  globs
onto the tracks as they alight.

2. I’ve   got   eczema,   Kimble   says.  No,  you
don’t.  No,  but something I do have is dyslexia.

At  boarding  school, all the girls tried to choke
me  with  their  pearls. We’ve never been much
good  at  fitting into churches, clinics, cop cars,
    Heaven.     Being   strung   out
makes  a  saint  of  you,  Pop.  You  better  go
wash  someone’s  feet  with  your  tears.
  Am  I
crying again?

1. I  look  at  the  moon, see my father’s face in
the  fissures,  as  Kimble  cracks the window of
the  chemist  and we wait for an alarm. Silence.
We  say  our  prayer  of  thanks  with crowbars.
The  safe  on  the  wall  opens her womb to us,
and   we   fill   our  backpack  with  her  babies.
Together   we  hit  the  hood  where  kings  will
never  live  in  woods. Our limbs transform into
pinions.  Kimble cries out, You look so good in
a  face  mask.
And I say, It brings out my eyes.
Kimble  screams  and  I  believe that this world
can  hold the two of us in its fat cheeks without
eating  us whole.  Only  a train ride away is our
home  that  doesn’t  deserve to be demolished,
that  never meant to sprinkle asbestos into our
sleeping mouths.

0. The  train  slows  and  we  step  onboard.  A
stairwell  goes  up,  another goes down, but we
just  stand  at  mid-level  and  hug, between us
our  unborn  baby  and the backpack full of our
kingdom come.

Ann-Marie Blanchard is originally from Lakesland, Australia. She currently lives in the United States where she is pursuing her PhD in Fiction at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, having completed her MFA in Fiction at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In 2015, she won the William Harrold Poetry Prize, and in 2014 was awarded second place in the Katherine Susannah Prichard award for Short Fiction. Publication is forthcoming in the anthology for the University of Canberra’s Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize and in Westerly Magazine.