This is not the neighborhood for you, my ex-friend said. Eyed through the coffee
shop’s sun-collared window a murder of crowing guys storm-trooping down
the street as I lit a smoke forgetting I was in AmeriKa. Ex has no idea she’s a dog.
She had set out flowered tea cups for coffee the day I wanted to leave my husband.
She folded rosy napkins and clicked her teeth. He’s a rat, better without him. The heart
of a rat—how she hovers over the menu not seeing me, the living ghost of a beauty
queen, still going after that mother-never-had and I am a spectre dreaming Buttonball
trees Port de Bras living and living and living in my heart.
Remember the rent spent on that drug? I remember locks changed and my husband
mud-caked and kaleidoscoped in his own sky with tears, meadows of dandelions
and violets dying in his ribs, begging to come home. I remember looking for work,
laughed at for saying I have what it takes, I remember relenting as fool
and bringing my blistered man home and I remember hands around my throat
as Bazooka-blown gratitude. I remember her not letting me stay one robin-less night.
On our way out Ex caught my hand with her hand. Placed cash. Sneered
away from the crows coming in. Let’s get outta here! I flinched. Not Nephilim,
she uttered grabbing for her own smoke—Merit 100. Take care of yourself
she said through swirly rings, the chain-link fences, the oily land of tire
shops. Stinks of middle earth, she said. I’m going to live, like this.