Kristi Maxwell

PRE(OCCUPATION)

 

There was a moment I wanted to remember.
A specific irritation. An impenetrable rind
of an orange. A kind of eyelash in the eye
and the eye is our love
and our love is our saturation.
An archaic Polaroid waved dry. I may commit more
unnecessary acts than necessary.
I may lend my support to a faulty reading.
The window in the pregnancy test
of the mind only dimly responsive
so we make a guess rather than a baby.
A magic stick. A matchstick. A lipstick. A dipshit.
I live in a house that is not my house
surrounded by things that are not my things
though aesthetically they could be
in the sense I would pick them out
and several of them could afford.
The camel saddle has been googled.
The delphinium-blue dishes from France.
A disposable cup not disposed of.
Being adorable is a fine if ephemeral protection,
little goat. My day is made of money
because I am preoccupied by debt.
The purchase of a mood. An unpacking.
The fear a parent will die and the fear a parent will soothe.
The fear I owe an apology I withheld
and that apology was
the soothing water and I have bracketed
a life that was not mine to punctuate
much less close. The fear my hand will be hung in a fence
I touch from the window of a moving car
and detached from the larger part
of my body like a vacuum attachment
one cannot reach a certain crevice without.
My husband is new. A benevolent virus.
There are bodies on the shower curtain,
I remind myself, so I don’t get confused and mistake them
for bodies outside the shower itself. Pulling the curtain back,
I crimp the bodies. I close my eyes and accordion-fold
my desires into a manageable fan and cool myself.
There is no space in the recycling bin. There is
no space in the garbage. What’s to be done?
To be simultaneously empty and full.
To be put out or to put out. Turning our girls
into trash with our language. Upsets today
upset tomorrow. O, vacillation. O, metaphorical vaccine.
The “o” is a prick but is this fairytale or slang.


KRISTI MAXWELL is the author of five books of poetry, including Realm Sixty-four (Ahsahta) and That Our Eyes Be Rigged (Saturnalia). She is an assistant professor of English at the University of Louisville.


Issue Four
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