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Margrethe H K Oct 2014
Gray-curving slopes
Wind-washed creek beds
Foxes bones, starched white under a cold sun

Shivers of grass
Smell of clay, pine

They stand together, nostrils flared

The spine of a dark morning
Stretching awake.
Margrethe H K Oct 2014
My mother has run away again, I find the note on the kitchen counter
next to an overflowing ashtray of butts covered in lipstick

My sister reads in and laughs, “The divorce thing again,”
she tosses it in the trash and says, “It’s pizza night.”

When my father gets home he knows she’s gone by the sound of a blaring radio
and unrestrained laughter in the kitchen

I have flour in my hair, my sister is wiping tomato sauce off her face
with the front of her shirt

He stands in the doorway without speaking, tilting sideways
his tired body leaning into the frame

Our eyes meet, and I think how handsome he still is
with so many losses inside

“It’ll be alright,” I say, but something in his face breaks
already parts of him falling away

We hold him in the doorway
his head resting between our shoulders

Just low enough so I can read my sister’s lips
when she mouths the word ***** and shakes her head

I imagine our mother in some air-conditioned hotel room
down by the river
ordering room service and cigarettes

Sprawled across the bed, sipping scotch
and watching her favorite  show
a half-smile at the edge of her mouth

knowing she’ll get her way
Margrethe H K Oct 2014
Between frozen foods and dairy
I bump into a brief ex

Hey, he says pointing to the beef burritos in my cart,
You’re not a vegetarian anymore?

Above our heads a voice crackles over a faulty intercom,
“Assistance needed in the meat department”

Pink flowers held behind him
Axe stinking up aisle 4

He eyes the chocolate donuts and six pack
sitting on top of a 20lb bag of cat food

Ready for the weekend, huh?

In the parking lot
I accidentally scrape his car
three times

I leave a note on the windshield

*Your recognizing my face
Doesn’t mean you know me
Margrethe H K Oct 2014
If this were a poem
I'd climb the long stairs to the attic and
crouch by the window
where snow gathers on the sill

Study the field of stars

How they fall, wanton
oblivious to boundaries

How each light
could be a door to another world
that my body would slip through
if it knew the way

This is where the poem would build

Between the edge of the window I grip
and the endless space of nothingness
that calls to me

*Come learn the alphabet of stars
Margrethe H K Oct 2014
My mother wore wigs and drank bourbon on Sundays
while my father worked across the street

I'd watch him from my bedroom window
sewing, stapling
hammering out frustrations I couldn't name

I called my sister David
because I wanted a brother
and a different family

My mother called my father Jesus
because she said he thought he was perfect

"Jesus, cut the grass."
"Jesus, take out the trash."
"Jesus, just ******* do it."

I'm grown up now
my name isn't Stupid Girl anymore
I've inherited my mother's rage
and my father's heavy sighs

Dark days I find myself thinking
my finger tracing the rim of a shot glass
you can't outgrow
what you're made of

And I feel inside of me
the breaking of glass

My sister writes me long letters from New York
she signs them all
love, David
Margrethe H K Oct 2014
Last night in a dream
an old woman cut my hair
it fell to the floor in chunks
and she whispered
you're cursed in relationships

This morning I sit in a house
haunted by mistakes
burning cigarette holes in the tablecloth
rage smoldering with every drag

I want to write something dangerous

I want to write a poem that can break a wine glass
a poem only liars can hear
one that curls around your throat in the night and whispers
It's nothing, sweetheart, go back to sleep

Something terrible
that I can embrace

Like a bright red, furry, scaly, toothless dress
that I could put on for you

Margrethe H K Oct 2014
The train changes tracks and
there is a pull, a deep sighing
of engine and steam

We glide from platform into water,
the train dipping beneath cool waves
into a mercury world  

Far down
dragon-fish watch me through the window,
their silver stripes like seaweed
splayed in slow motion,
moving left, then right

Like my sister’s hair
that summer in the Red River,  
my parents fell asleep in the sun
lips stained with wine,
forgetting she couldn’t swim

Her fingertips reaching for light,
a stream of bubbles surfacing,
signaling the quiet struggle

How long have I been dreaming you,
grasping handfuls of water in my sleep,
searching for the memory of your body?

Deeper down the light burns a cold red
The train groans under the weight of the sea

And she is taking me,
the sea is taking me,
a lost child in her great arms
to the red darkness below

The dragon-fish rise,
their eyes a road of stars
I cannot follow.
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