never change/you do it all the time
Kimberly Ann Southwick
play this song to the astronauts, like they can hear it.
the park bench and the time you wrote the words to an erasure.
the community garden and its tall gate. you’re drunk and wearing a skirt
and in search of the perfect tomato.
you keep repeating to yourself, a rosary. the park bench and the
time the two of you wrote the words to an erasure.
here it comes, here it comes. everything everything everyone.
tell him how tall the gate is. forget the corset in the bag. let him
squeeze you tight enough to faint.
play this song to the seventeen year cicadas. they will do the forgetting for you, a prayer.
We arranged the furniture
of a dollhouse, chairs heaped upon
tables upon the smallest king-sized bed,
your daughter—but in three years—and I.
We stacked each piece in a careful pile,
not forgetting the tiniest ironing board
or endtable, not forgetting every doll-sized
cookbook and encyclopedia.
Everything waited in the dining room.
We were sure.
I could first only remember, after the smoke,
your half of her face, your green eyes,
the bridge of her unlucky forehead.
A curl of hair from a night in the woods.
We planted proof under a mess of small sticks,
big leaves, and listened to the still-quiet
after we lit the fire, left, and it followed us
like a moth, to your daughter’s bedroom.
She has a book of matches in her pocket,
For Lucius Andrew
open silver-lidded eyes,
and tell me their color.
this blizzard night didn’t concern you,
but you were there, like the destination of a traveler
who awakes at his train’s stop after a dream
he never thought he’d escape—two
couples and he was half of one, an elevator
that doesn’t exist— but I promise,
the white-lined walls around you,
they will turn colors— the future has you wallpapered
and apple-sauced. soon, sounds you will learn
are meaningless by definition will form
into patterns of sense. Lucius, I promise you
a kingdom of home and its vast enterprises.
I promise you chocolates, if you’re not allergic,
train rides, countrysides. I’ll meet
you with a smile, halfway. together,
we will learn privilege, its taste and deficit.
we will mend sidewalks with chalk
and conquer every alphabet you find worthy.
Kimberly Ann Southwick is the founder and editor in chief of the literary arts journal Gigantic Sequins. Her poetry is forthcoming or featured in Hobart, Revolver, death hums, and Two Serious Ladies. She teaches literature, writing, and grammar to college students, blogs at Poets on Sports, and lives in Philly with her husband and their dog. Find out more here and follow her on twitter @kimannjosouth.