Three Poems

4 minute read

miasma theory

it is just and right that the people should rebel
stand up for themselves
take to the streets

this noxious air has choked the life out of our lungs
and we will stuff the beaks
of our plague masks

we will breathe in lavender oils, and bathe in bleach
our skin will dry, and crack, and peel
and we emerge purified

behind the walls of our home where we are safe
six feet apart from the infection,
young enough to carry it,

not old enough to die, but rather to become lethal
masked by the red death,
let us stay alive inside

our lives rendered little by this fear, pressed into these paper houses
counting eggs, and sugar grains
heads down

out in the streets, are the righteous few, who scream
it is my right, to die of this plague
and you can’t take it away

it is just and right that the people should rebel
but a plague is not a government
its oppression is universal

a beer garden is not a fundamental human right
a foreign holiday is not a political cause
we stuff the beaks of our masks

we pray the miasma passes soon,
we obey.
we wait.

silent go the war drums

in the trenches of the quintessential fight for the right to sit at the dinner table, in the tradition of war, heralded by the women of my family,

every declaration of love ignites a call to arms, every conversation is a battle. the war is on two fronts, in my mind i want to protest the endless pointlessness

i wave my white flag. with flowers in my hair, i throw up peace signs, aggressive in my pacifism. i want a ceasefire. i want a love without protestation. i want a treaty that promises a silence on all ends.

my mother is a fierce general who does not know how to retire. her every breath is a provocation. i desert her army. i know i can’t conquer her.

my hunger strike goes unnoticed. when i can no longer starve myself, i starve her of me. i dishonorably discharge myself from her service

i walk away from this love with no honors, my sacrifice wrapped in camouflage, my heart scarred. i am protester and proactive accomplice at once.

but when i wake to sunlight coming in through gauzy curtains, spilling delicately on my hardwood floors, the fading scent of a reed diffuser bringing invisible blossoms to dance in the air

my bare feet are rough and ugly in the carpet, with chipped nail polish on my toes. a chipped mug waits for me on the counter, staying alone to attention,

and the house is quiet around me, and nothing is broken nothing aches, anymore, like it used to

i know i have lived to fight another day.

the single girl’s guide to pocket travel essentials

on my shelf next to my bullet lipstick is a swiss army knife

it has a bottle opener, a screwdriver, a thing that takes out corks, in case i feel posh enough to buy wine that costs more than a fiver; it also has a convenient nail file,

and a blade shorter than my shortest pair of heels sharper than the knives in my kitchen i keep it on my vanity, sometimes picking it up instead of my eyeliner pen and feeling its weight in my hand

i want you to take this with you on a night out, and keep it in your bag if you have lectures until after dark.” my father says at the back of my head. “i have a gift for you” the man who in the same breath gave his dainty daughter a pretty necklace and a knife

happy graduation. don’t go out without it. also, a flashlight in case of emergencies, and a portable phone charger, don’t leave home without it so i know that he misses me when i am out of the country, in his own way, worrying about how i’ll be getting about in that infuriating man-way of not saying it

it’s next to a bottle of perfume he gave me my brother asked when he’ll be getting a knife of his own, and my father said “you don’t need one to get about town alone.”

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