230 Readings | 1 Rating

WE’VE BEEN GONE SUCH A LONG TIME & WE FEEL SO MESSY

We ask where are we & then we are

In a quandary. We feel our way

Around—the room, it’s dark with surprise—

We enter & we light it. Slick

& curving close to the face

Like hairstyles of the ‘20s.


We plume the house with us. Our sleep thinks


We can save people. We look at 

The lamps & their bulbs begin unscrewing. The music

Begins. We try to introduce ourselves & people

Call us a one-trick match.


We got a bad crush. He cuts us

Strings of paper dolls. One to one, they blacken they

Pickpocket each other’s pink. We look out

At the stars & they wince. Like a smoke detector

Our sleep keeps its one red eye on us.


The hostess steps out for more ice

& around the room things begin

To come up missing:


Where we are, everyone looks at us—we are told

We don’t have to go home


But we can’t stay here. Improperly kissed

We are messy with the crush. We crush

Together like violet like spring bulbs.

We piece things together & our eyes

Widen. Our sleep says Do you always

Burn holes through people like that? 

Posted 09/17/14
Originally appeared in Puerto del Sol: Summer 2011; Second Place, 2011 Puerto del Sol Poetry Prize, judged by Julie Carr. Please consider subscribing/supporting Puerto del Sol; you can do so here: http://www.puertodelsol.org/current.html Title is a piece of dialogue spoken by Dorothy Gale to the Guardian of the Emerald City Gates in an attempt to convince him to let her inside.
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