717 Readings

She Don’t Know the Way Home

First week of fall semester, and already signs
girdle the campus telephone poles—

                               Lost: small orange dog, floppy ears,
                    responds to “Little Anne.”

Pinned birds shudder on every post. Their ink
flakes off into tiny scabs. I tramp past the dry
snigger of drought-coppered palms, the B.O.
of tinfoiled hotdogs, the sashay of prettier girls
in heels of clinking gold,

and I hate them. They twinkle like a pawn
shop. They burble like a bad acting gig.
They misuse “your” and “you’re.” Hey!
Here’s a crash course: Your marigold
maxi busts my eyes with its heinous ruffles.
You’re a frou-frou home-wrecking whore.

                               Has anyone seen my compassion?
                    I didn’t used to be this way.

If I could, I’d erect a billboard on I-10, create
some sort of Facebook campaign, scribble down
the side of a milk carton: Where are you, gentleness?
Sweet thing, where have you gone?

you mewling creature! You fend off mongrels
for shrimp tails in the dumpsters behind Cajun
restaurants, your paws clotted, your once bright
fur now muddied as a fox’s. You whimper
in the dark and in the rain—

And I lie awake at night, listening to trains
bellow past the roads ablaze with Hooters’
signs and stoplights sinister as vampire eyes,
while the embers of a Dirty South sun
smolder into an ashtray of evening. Summer
has gone up in smoke for this time around.

                                     I’ll love with my teeth, not lips,
                        till Little Anne gets found.
Posted 06/07/11
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