A Botanist Tires of Teaching Table Flower Etiquette
I finally give up growing
vegetables in the litter box.
It’s all so much spoiled soil. Your ice water suggests
we need to anticipate the coming cold front, moving
east across the North America of our TV screen.
Which, let’s be real, means nothing
except if the two of us sit
still long enough the burglar at the back door will do away
with his picking and move along down the street
two maintenance women dig cable lines and strike
a time capsule because the window’s open
we can hear them argue
over just who, exactly, that lock of hair belongs to.
You know I can’t resist that sexy thing you do
with grape tomatoes and your nostrils and in doing so
pull me into the living room where if you put your ear to the wall
you’d think neighbors
must be murdering each other in the bedroom.
The way they must have giggled getting into their cars
in the parking lot outside our window hear rain, hear it puddling.
I try to do away with cold fronts and makeshift formulas
for early onset midlife crisis
and just how hard it is to pack up and leave this
is what it turns into: like the dividend of distance in quarters
tossed at the toll booth. The man on a street corner
who might looks at us, stop, and hand us a map
of the monuments
in a place where the wind is a slow screw in the temple
A little bit of bone mentality, like see my marrow
follow the trail across the fallow fields of such memory:
You, standing in your tears and your tissues
like you might have grown up along the edge of the quarry.
I’ve ripped out the mesh and started planting seeds
in the sand box
which is only indicative of the way I make you
make me feel certain.
Tantrum (An inadvertent example of ice thaw)
At first, I wasn’t so much alarmed by the smoke
coming out of your ears.
For my sake, let’s pretend the sound of you
throwing a glass figurine through the bay window
is my misinterpretation of dancing
in the front room. Listen, the front room is a metaphor
for lobe-like activity. Actually, its not
but how many times have the two of us tried to forget
where we come from is just like boys dunking each other
in the shallows
sometimes I mistake the lake for romance.
Children chasing circles around the wet pool deck.
An anthropologist sweeping skull remnants
into a dustpan.
If pressed to explain myself: almost archaeology.
Our foreheads are hot and we are out of position.
Positions no one should be in and the ones we pretend
to be in: why I asked you to take my picture at the end
of the runway: to elicit a false perception
of me leaving.
Nobody inside the window to breath write I miss you to.
The saddest I’ve seen you is undressing
the snow man.
You who roll through the red light without me.
BRANDON RUSHTON teaches creative writing at the University of South Carolina, where he also serves as the editor of Yemassee. A finalist for the Indiana Review Poetry Prize, his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Louisville Review, Southern Humanities Review, Adroit Journal, Permafrost, Moon City Review, and others.