nthposition online magazine

Bathroom, Value village luck & Mute

by Afra Michael Boissevain

[ poetry - june 05 ]

Bathroom

School-issue stockings
torn thigh to crotch
expose satin and skin,
enough to make
your hands shake
as you spread my legs,
make the run longer.
You delight in the ripping
that is loud enough
to cover my scream.

 

Value village luck

Rack upon rack of clothes
that smell like mildew and disuse
line my way to the back of the row.
I am a reluctant bride of children's shirts.
Embarrassment hangs heavily
while I slip on yellow characters
fighting on a fuchsia backdrop.
Other shirts are more hopeful -
$30.00 spent in LA.
by a mother lying on the beaches
shopping along the strip
dining at the hottest restaurants;
A t-shirt to apologize,
the welcome-home hugs and
tell-me-everything screams
reduced to a 99 cent price tag.

 

Mute

They cut half your tongue
from your head:
you
a teacher,
your life built on words
sharp 's'es, teeter-totter inflection,
a laugh like Vick's Vapo-Rub.
At the dinner table
food leaked from the side of your mouth,
you couldn't articulate your hunger,
asked me to give the address
whenever we went downtown together,
too ashamed in front of a cabby
who hardly spoke English.
I've found pink notebooks
with scribbled story beginnings
much like
the paperback mysteries we shared:
you agreed to write
even if you could not talk.
I fasten my mother's necklace now,
as I fastened yours
while you did your hair.
Sunflowers on my bedside table
like the one
embroidered on the shirt
you were so proud of.