09/19/2021

Tiff Holland

Gargoyle

 
When it rained we
put pots on the burners
and made soup
We wrapped the leak­ing pipes
in t‑shirts, shook the aerosol cans,
cre­at­ed spray-paint seals
When the pilot went out
We piled bas­kets into the car
careered to the laundromat,
roller-der­bied the mothers
fight­ing for the hottest driers

When there was no flush
we filled bowls with water
that also had no place to go
let­ting vol­ume do the work
When the cup­boards were empty
we learned to make friends
Otherwise we would still
be alone and hungry

When a crack formed in the sky
and sent down a thirty-foot
branch, you threw me
from our bed before
it could split itself
upon the ridge of the roof

That was Christmas, the dog
seiz­ing in a corner
by the full-length clos­et mirror
com­ing to in fugue state baring
his teeth at his doppelgänger
at us, call­ing the sheriff,
his gun unholstered
when we unlocked the door
the dog, alert, recognizing
his own tail wagging.

Home is the box you have left
after you erase the spires
arched win­dows, flying
but­tress­es, the place
you make do with inter-
mit­tent elec­tri­cal outages
tak­ing turns adjust­ing the rab­bit ears
while the oth­er watch­es the world
attempt to mate­ri­al­ize through
the snow, always snow, deep
enough to lose your­self in
and the fire­place, smoke-
smudged but functional
to warm us back up.

~

Tiff Holland is author of the novel­la-in-flash “Betty Superman.” Her poet­ry and prose have recent­ly appeared in Frigg, New World Writing, New Flash Fiction Review, and Fried Chicken and Coffee. Tiff lives in Kaneohe, Hawaii and teach­es at Windward Community College.