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Poetry

Poem: Storks

Portrait of Gauguin, Vincent Van Gogh, 1888.

I walk downstairs and find

that the house is mine.

It seems that I have bought gray floor-lamps,

baskets, and roses. Gray clouds press

a headache on the ceiling.

The walls weep. I fumble

for the phone, and the cough

of my lighter startles

a fly on the granite counter.

I contract; I am on a sterile bed,

surrounded by latex and nylon.

Big strong doctors with answers

buzz through the halls like a sneeze.

To contract is an interesting thing.

In biology they call it a positive feedback loop;

one’s uterus begins to contract, and the body

pushes back harder and contracts stronger.

Which is the opposite of

what one would think it would do.

The body wants things out; foreign objects

rejected. The sun turns

into pink lemonade.

The phone coos plastically

in my ear. It slams into

the receiver in a way that startles

me, the phone, and the fly. All I wear is

the draping smoke that lingers

in the humidity in here.

The neighbors wrestle outside

with hoses or inflatable pools

or babies. Always humidity. Like

swimming through concrete.

A hormonal cardinal pecks at my window

with her offensive orange nose while I smear

gray on my eyes. I remember my family dog

rolling in mulch like it was Chanel No. 5.

I make my bed and think about

how very important it is that I make

my bed. Like those monks or priests

that break their necks making

those intricate sand-drawings that they dump

out later, to prove

to their followers or to themselves

or to the sand that everything

must come to ruin, but that everything

still must be everything.

I once dated a wannabe-priest who had lips

like two sofas. I thought that to corrupt a man

of the cloth would be an apt challenge.

He held his rosary beads in the sunlight and explained

what they required of him.

He ended up going to seminary in dry Arizona.

My coffee is moist and steamy

beyond its principles. Clouds

pressure-cooking my head

all the time. Steam won’t come out

through my ears, although I tell

it that that is a feasible exit like I’m a goddamn

flight attendant. My hair

seems to coil and rise up on top of

my head like feathers.

I take a silver-back wallet

from my pocket and count

its green tongues. I grind them with a

mortar and pestle, and they turn white.

A wire hanger sits beside the hospital

trash can. Cars spew rain on the street.

The average fly lifespan is 24 hours.

Men snore all across the block while their

wives stare at beige ceilings. Earth turns.

The coffee cup shatters

in the sink. I look at my cigarette’s

lit end and consider the orangeness of the

heat pressing out from behind the gray.

The world is all ashes and moisture pressing together stickily.

Red nail polish drips on granite.

An electrical outlet behind the couch is

faulty, and it is connected

to a butterfly lamp. A lamp

with butterflies sealed inside the linen.

The moon rolls across

my eyes, blood red.

I hear my own scream; something is terribly wrong.

A fly buzzes against lightbulbs, wings

coated in dew. Morning comes like

Aphrodite; she brings flowers,

and they have wilted like

a diabetic dog.

Owner without things. Storks

fly from Japan to Puerto Rico,

bright and white. Orange love burns

in private beds. A big strong doctor with

answers wraps me up and tells me

that it is okay, that blood runs. Blood dries

on plaster walls and trash cans.

Miles away a dump truck roars.

The electrical outlet suckles

on the lamp cord; all life consumes.

I sit with my head

under the coffee table, so comfortable

in the black, my fingers

in my ears, blocking the sound of

hot blood pumping and thrashing

pumping and thrashing.

Moist earth presses up against my knees.

It wasn’t my fault when day broke

on a blood-red corduroy couch,

its iron and ashes and moisture.

My white-powdered nose

poured, and the garbage truck

sang. The girl on the swing, pink dresses

rise and fold while cherubs

watch disapprovingly.

Surging and thrashing as blue,

electrical manpower overrides.

The nylon couch catches a small flame

by the hole that the old cat dug.

My hair was tangled in the couch’s rusty

staples as I twisted. Manpower overrides.

Heat grew in my cheeks as the

couch rocked orange. I couldn’t hear the

thrashing. My dead hair tugged

at the upholstered silk, ripping.

How young air is. A fog of smoke settled

like a doily over my curls.

Blue anxious life had its hand over me.

I pulled and bit at the couch legs to free

my hair but became enamored

by the light. The pink folds

of the couch faded away and

I could understand the blue.

Latex gloves pull at the skin

in annoying ways. Doctors’ long nose

hairs reach out to me, recede in, reach out.

White belly gives way to white bone.

The hospital bed becomes unattached

from its horizontal axis, becomes a free,

vertiginous thing. Breasts of ages

burn down from the sky.

Death is pink; it has always been.

Nosebleeds for thirty years.

Humidity cannot help this kind.

It is man’s nature, it breeds

vines over my neck, sprouting in light,

voracious and thirsty; electricity only wants to live.

Blood is mostly salt and water and

chemicals, conductive things;

man has his affinities. Our blue vines

entwine. Pumping and thrashing.

My tongue in powder on the coffee table,

paralyzed with the shock of man.

My bloody eyes curdle and relax.

Manpower overrides.

Contract. I understand the blue.

I smell latex. A dump truck mumbles

on down the street, towards the setting sun.

Storks fly from Japan to Puerto Rico,

bright and white.

I laugh and ask God:

to name is to love, but

can one name what cannot be loved?

By Ella

I am an undergraduate junior studying creative writing. I am interested in short fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction and professional writing.

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