And my world looks like
Dirty ice and snow piled up in eight-foot mounds
beside my metallicblue '88 famous-name Japanese sedan
[hail to the car gods and my local repair guru,
please don't make me have another car payment
not yet] there is dead grass in the snow,
also twigs the freeze snapped from my cherry tree,
the same as those along the Tidal Basin,
you know the ones, they're famous.
But right now, it's hard to describe,
even with the photo of moi,
fingers lightly gripping that one flower-laden branch.
Jeanette would sing Sweetheart to her immortal lover
but I own a list of required car repairs
much too expensive for my budget,
and my world looks like
snow shovels that are out-of-stock,
and my world looks like
a leaky roof that threatens the drywall,
and my world looks like
sunshine seen through smudged glasses
and bangs that need trimming
and borrowed plaid flannel shirts
over spandex leggings and ski socks --
and I would rather be that
Island Girl,
I saw her photo on the Internet.
She has no fat on her body,
and large breasts that don't sag.
Island Girl reclines on a St. Barts beach
several hours south by plane,
and I want to grow up to be her
and order another margarita,
all the time wondering if the
blizzard obliterated
the Wall from the War that first
taught me love doesn't last.
But that's only one kind of love,
you say.
And you're right,
and my world looks like
leftover words scribbled
on the back of cat calendar pages
made of recycled paper.
And my world looks like
self-improvement books that I
don't have time to read,
craft projects that I
don't have time to complete,
conversations unspoken,
photographs untaken,
collages unframed,
labels incomplete.
And my world looks like
words imprisoned by conventions,
fears of phones ringing and doors knocking,
failure to set mouse and radio alarms,
portrait of black bass
pressed to parchment prior to poaching,
pink debit card slips from the grocery store,
and I want to be Island Girl instead.
I want to unbutton my soft chambray shirt
and let my tits be the ones to tan
under that warm tropical sun,
and feel that offshore breeze
lift the damp hair off my sweaty neck
and order another margarita,
and my world looks like
a city with no mayor
and my world looks like
someone forgot to put the seed out
for the birds --
and my world looks like
corrupted software --
and my world looks like
brand names beat homemade
in the Super Bowl
of What's Got Value.
I am a daughter.
I am an American.
I want to revolt.
But my world looks like
the heaviness of the ten thousand things
that I thought I had to possess.
"Slow down, slow down. We can't keep up."
I have only begun to teach.

Copyright 2001 by Karen Thompson

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