Ha! For me poetry has always been the thing I used to salve my wounds.
Not so good for the poem, eh?
Today, I needed salve, and I wrote a new poem.
I don’t know if it is any good.
I sent it to a trusted friend, or two, to read, because I want a reader, dammit.
But, I now find myself too impatient to wait.
Here… is my new poem.
Thanks for reading!
It Could Be a Bundt Pan
Or it could be a springform.
I never yet been asked to fill one of those Barbie skirt pans, but maybe some day
if I can keep my head
together long enough.
It could easily be a sheet cake pan
for those who require multiple slices.
For that reason, it’s best if I am
Yellow box-cake mix.
Not even Duncan Hines, but the store mix, bad art, boring package, lots of glue at the seams-
and on the shoddy wax bag inside.
Nice load of preservatives to help me stay the course
as long as I may be wanted.
To be anything else is to commit a sort of treason.
The student in the back corner with the Willie Jess Robertson beard
tells the whole class this long unsolicited story about guns and school and Texas
so that we know we’d all be safer if He could legally carry a hidden piece.
He’s proud of himself when he finally breathes,
and I know, from that second, he’s probably got one on himself somewhere anyway
Metal, cold, itching at him like a chigger bite.
This day I am Devil’s Food Cake,
Oh baby look out.
I tell Willie Jess I am a gunsmith’s daughter
Which I am, people.
I tell him I have seen too many people
including my father,
who art in heaven,
do stupid things with guns.
Rusted cylinder makes no difference to those who think you mean to kill yourself.
Little sister can’t see that it is rusted, all she can see is the intent you have, to scare us.
And yes, I know what a wad is,
My father had a homemade machine to reload,
and he let me pour in the shot,
slot the wads into the little track that fed them down with precision.
My father was all precision,
unless he was drunk or jealous.
Then he came apart in pieces like a cupcake in a child’s hands.
When I say that I have seen too many gun holders be stupid
when I add to my cred with my wad and shot
Willie Jess’ head whips back and up as if I have reached from the front of the room to the back
to slap his hairy face.
I wounded him by having experiences beyond this windowless room.
He’ll never learn anything now.
WTF was I thinking?
In another room on another day at another school there is Levi, also in the back.
She is sassy. Her hair is any color but the one of her biology.
She has lived, in her young years, hard. I like her.
Right away I like her, and she likes me.
I am glad to tint myself to her stronger colors.
I am glad to sit silently encouraging while she tells her unsolicited story.
She is badass. I want to dump mulch and peat moss on her.
Stupid adjunct, stupid low-paying job that puts me on a shoe string,
the very next class
my car breaks down.
My kid gets sick.
There is no one but me to take the hurt pet to the vet.
Something interrupts, makes me miss a day with Levi.
When I return I am contrite.
I am disappointed in myself for my many failings.
I detest all my sins that offend thee, Levi.
-lack of money
-scarcity of success
I come in with my waxy shoddy cake-mix bag tucked under and between my legs.
Some of the students are nice, glad to see me, but not Levi.
She is clearly angry. She won’t look at me.
She makes unwhispered whispers about me to anyone who will listen.
a day of the semester.
a day of pay.
precious cache of self-respect
just like that
when I thought we were cool.
Sensei with the hip length braids, I road the subway 6 stops in the wrong direction
to be the one whose name you knew.
Maestro I sat by your good ear in restaurants, and listened and listened, so quiet,
anything for a second more of your words and stories.
Excusa Amado Profesor, you don’t remember me now
so many have come past your wire-rimmed eyes,
but one of them was me, and I know it; I know my luck.
It’s not my job to know it though.
It’s my job to be Funfetti for the ones who are bored
be colorful under sticky Crisco icing.