The tough girls stand in the bathroom, applying Lee press-on nails. Simone’s their leader, and she leans against the grey cinder block and hotboxes a slim menthol cigarette. Her bangs fan up toward the ceiling, stiff and shining with extra-hold hairspray. They are epic. I shrink into my stall and hide behind the scent of glue and smoke and the iron of the trash bin where we throw our used pads.
Months ago, the bombs arrived in formation, hovering like blimps. At first, we thought they were participating in a military exercise, that they would be leaving soon, but they remained in place, silent except for a barely audible buzzing that disrupted our cellphone signals and our cable reception. “You’re blocking our sun,” we shouted at the bombs. “Our gardens are dying,” but there
We stay in the same room together, Vivien and I, even though the other rooms are empty. I sit at the table, and she sits across from me, we change places when we feel like it—we don’t need to turn on the lights in order to see each other. Sometimes I agree, other times Vivien does. If one of us turns away the other has already turned away. When one of us drops something one
My father was an oysterman just like his father before him—and just like I would have become had things not turned out the way they did. By the end of the sixties, the Bay was in poor shape, and the men who worked the water and drank at the bars at the marina could see the writing was on the wall. Action groups were starting to form around the idea of “saving” the Bay—whatever that meant—and
I’m opening another before I’m finishing, with no reliable internet, with a paperclip to up & down the zipper on my green coat, with you except you’re not you & you’re wherever you are, in an apartment full of me & my quiets, in a city full of the kind of air that will leave you behind. I wake up full of windows & flowers—I did not dream of the thing we talked about
Self-Portrait as a Turkey Vulture
Must be some kind of man’s vertigo-
I’m Judy, I’m Madeleine, I’m Marilyn
Monroe in a black bobbed wig.
O Periphas, I’ve been your wife in bed,
a sign as pure as dove’s feathers, purer
than battery acid. But this is what pity
from the gods will do-I’m a red balloon
filled with rocks. Cotton my ivory mouth
with your vitriol, your anthrax-and, smiling,
I will swallow on the count of ten.
A Sign of Summer
A month from
My mother got me started on t’ai chi when I was a little kid, no more than five or six, I think. We used to go together to her class on Thursday nights at the elementary school gym. She sort of dragged me along.
The man who taught us was graceful, because of his balance, but it wasn’t a dancer’s grace, it was animal-like, controlled. When he put his foot down somewhere, you felt nothing