Only a fictional girlĀ 

Only a fictional girl would walk into the house and not notice the prurient magazines by the front door, alighting instead on the cookie press  in the  kitchen grandma rolling out the dough after it has been mixed, pressed, shaped into a ball and refrigerating overnight derelict old phones and cameras, a stack of games she played with him in her (fictional) childhood, his competitive streak annihilating any possibility of comradery only as she revisits the rooms in the house like so much like a real house on a street so much like a real street 

Where a fictional man once lived 

Preaching to the dead

First, pick my chasuble with care: war paint, cowgirl boots, stretched-out pale-pink tutu from the racks upon racks at the resale store, brand-new for the girls who did not need them anymore,  all donated to science or the graveyard where I go to pace and splutter out some fractured  litany about a beat-up pickup truck, iterations of a lost father, lawn furniture strewn  above the tree line, the same forgotten first name of both Sikorsky and Stravinsky, and this jittery alter-ego who swings wild, shouts loud, raises hell as though bones and memory and words could be as easily strung together as that-to breath life into the dead as they fit their joints and hinges back together, back to life, the way an ordinary man rises from his bed, rubs his eyes, dons his pants and his shirt, walks out into 

Light

Leaves in water

for so long now I have seen Ophelia’s clothes each time I scoop leaves from the bottom of the pool, of the well, of the teacup of memory she comes back to me with a plaintive song about the boy whose soliloquies broke into a thousand words over water, hovering over the surface of the deep, almost a song until you cannot swim, touch the bottom and feel only tangled leaves, no solid ground to stand on if only she could get herself…well-to a nunnery, of course…high walls, soft voices sorting who or what is safe if not the boy, the beautiful boy with all his talk of infinitives of being….being, just a leaf in water, weightless until it begins to rise over her incendiary last infinitive thought-to be or not to be.

Rocket Girl

you float for a time in the “even so,” casually, miraculously, inexorably growing limbs and features and organs, that all-important beating heart.  No one tells you meanwhile in “Houston…we have a problem” or that the problem is something you  cannot (would not)

unmake you

/girlness /not boyness, your binary /identification /of /gender 

Will be enough to terminate the mission

… when all along you have done your best in the beautiful floating weeks of the “even so”

You matchless irreplaceable girl-in-the-now, girl-for-a-moment

Until mission control

Aborts, aborts

Letting you

tiny dancer, rocket girl

Go.

The Countries I Have Lost

A country, just like a single old-left-foot-house-slipper can be metonymous.  This-for that, quid-pro-quo, how-did-I-ever-lose-you?-metonymous. Hit me at 2 am, sharp intake of breath too hard to connect it all with proper punctuation metonymous.  I once accidentally cut your hand in a car window metonymous.  When I met you I thought you were the crazy one metonymous. Lost in Pittsburgh a million years ago metonymous.  With you the reason for years of silence had to be different metonymous.  

The countries I have lost all have proper names, stable addresses, no missing slippers.  Us-and-them, before-and-after countries cheerfully conventional, intentionally respectful, naturally leery of the once-familiar mendicant whose metonymic wholes have been for good or ill

Irrevocably set free.

The Cowboy of Lost Things

his button-down shirt matched the color of his gun and his ten-gallon hat matched his jeans as he brandished his weapon with bravado in the the store-of-lost-things on the corner of the city named for the patron saint of them, poor Native Americans, at some point the irony of namesakes and saints’ days and lost things must have haunted them the way it haunts me as the Nissan with the cat inside next to the bustling night school faces its own lost place on the street named for flowers where a brown bottle will spread its broken pieces like water pooled on the edge of the sidewalk, so close to art, so close to lost on the very edge of the world