fishbone

 

let me do the talking. last night, a wolf spider

sweltered in the bedroom, all crouched up

and angry on the pink duvet. while i corralled

it into a tupperware, you opened the door

to the front yard—guided my hand to a patch

of zinnias where we urged the spider to begin

anew. we make a good team. a loving team.

still, as we searched the 10pm sky for ursa

major, door ajar, a one-legged cricket screeched

into my bedroom, following the spider’s path.

movement: a fact of summer. back to today.

you say you swear the pastoral is running

away from us. like crickets. like my mother

bare knuckle bargain shopping at the grocery

store where i work, gathering up the 2for5s

and the half-offs like lost children. what are

we about to lose? the red-shouldered hawk

is back in the pasture by the roadside.

there’s no country club yet on this swollen,

stolen land. the rain gauge said we got two

inches last night. and anyway, if the pastoral

is running away then the urban is devouring.

mouth angry with a diorama of spit and myth

and mayhem. once, at my old high school,

a boy ate a goldfish whole at prom—giddy

on a dare. it beat its fins against his teeth

as he steeled his jaw and swallowed. later,

when he vomited up the fish, it was dead.

bones popped, body suffocated into the tight

nothing of his esophagus. you say when i move

to the city that’ll be me: swallowed. still,

we can survive. let’s pop our bones and be

happy. press your finger into the knot between

my shoulder blade and spine. go on. go on.

rub away the grocery store cashier back pain

and senioritis stress. truth be told, i’d do

anything for you to kiss me how the stockers

put food on the shelves. one after another after

another, trying their best to make things fit.