Thursday, September 29, 2011

By Rebecca L. Morrison

In the shower I slipped,
and the nail belonging to my
left foot's big toe bent
all the way back to reveal
rare, strange flesh, virgin
like the fresh peach pulp that
hung from my high school lips
when Ben, teenage god,
swim team captain, took me
on wooded picnics to touch
what was growing fresh and fast
beneath my blouse. The third July he
left, and I cried like Catherine when
Henry penned Greensleeves for that
eleven-fingered, google-eyed
harlot called Anne, but her name
was Caitlin, and on my eighteenth
birthday I drank too much Chambord
at a rock concert, and told her I wished
she were dead. Sometimes I still see
the harlot home-wrecker on my college
campus, and I look her in the eyes
and greet her by name like a band-aid
on sweating skin. Post-slip, I bought
a bathmat; it clung to the floor
of my tub for six months but
its pearlescent surface grew
soil-stained from my soles
and their summer barefoot filth,
and when I ripped it up from its
porcelain bed, my cat jumped
at the staccato pops of lost
suction, and I cringed at the
clammy grout I'd allowed
to fester beneath its clear, plastic cups --

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lunch Poem #2
By Rebecca L. Morrison

The first time I wrote about lunch I talked
about the same stir-fry every time, and today
is just another stir-fry, and last night
was just another stir-fry, which I ate on my
frameless mattress, waiting for you to open
the door so I could ignore you until you
wandered to find me, which you didn't,
and after five minutes of your kitchen grocery
rustling, I wandered to find you, and you asked
me why I'd waited so long to tell you I was
there in our space. Now I munch my stir-fry, and
the folks traipsing in from outdoors are all wet,
and I call you to ask if there's rain where you are,
and you tell me you're dry and you'll be home late,
and that this weekend we will go to the state fair.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Accounting for the Humanities Major
By Rebecca L. Morrison
11:48 on a Friday and I am running
late for my accounting exam: little
twenty-question fucker – accruals,
liabilities, deferrals, equities – words
that make my stomach cramp with the
aptitude I've never had, and oh man I am
rushing so hard I forget my hunger, so I
run sweaty into that good exam, but I am
late thus wobbly-chaired. There are
twenty questions but most answers are
just guesses; I was never good at
foreign languages - aha! And shortly
this gnawing desperation is awake
in my stomach, and I think of the
vegetable stir-fry I'll have for lunch,
which is the same thing I had Thursday
and Wednesday too. I remember the
time I tried to cook rice in my parents'
kitchen, and molten plastic scalded

my foot which had my skin bubbling.
I was limping for days, and my father
told me the pain was punishment,
karma for being a careless ninny
who can't record a balance sheet
or even goddamn cook a pot
of rice. I got a C on that good exam,
which to be honest, dad, is two letters
better than I had expected or perhaps
even deserved.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

By Rebecca L. Morrison

She loved to write letters, and I wish
I'd written her more of them like she
always asked, brightly, slipping
a sheet of postage stamps across

the counter, maybe hoping I was
scared of her lonesomeness - widowed
lovelessness - and the time she fell
down the stairs to her basement.

For hours she survived with screams,
until Jesse, the Boy Scout next door,
heard her, and he got a certificate from
the Baltimore city police enumerating

his courage. Now I cringe at those hours
she spent shattered on concrete, those
hours I spent trying to crochet with
the hook she gave me, only to assume

she could just teach me again later.
And when the day came, prefaced by
the ninety-year slip from here to not
at all there, I stood weeping, dripping

with my mother's good emeralds and
diamonds, and the soggy grass clippings
and leaves that caked my black pumps,
and tried to read aloud her favorite poem --

"I am the only little black lamb -
The only one, that's what I am;
All of the rest have little white faces
I guess I'm a whole family tree of disgraces," --

until my father's grip on my shoulder
began to shake and sent me, scared
and slow like a letter tumbling
down the basement stairs.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Head Cold

By Rebecca L. Morrison

My throat is tender, stripped,

so for sleep I steal a pinch of

stale pot from your mason jar.

I slump, fade against my naked

pillow; I lug thousand-ton eyelids,

heavier without my heart's

once-new thousand-ton thump

when it would press firm against

your pocked boyfriend-chest. I didn't

notice the NyQuil you'd placed on my

nightstand, the bottled water, until

morning rays met crusted lids, and you

called on your lunch break just to say hi,

just to remind me "a night is nothing

compared to forever," so I wondered,

Ryan, why you'd slept on my cat-fur

floor, just to avoid my germed breath,

heavy against your face, for I'm certain

there are more viruses in our future.