Holly Day
grunts angry, angry bear, says he remembers
when I was the only irritation down there. He
bellows into the telephone and I tell him
he should see a doctor, or at least a shrink.
I am thankful for all the roads between
his big fat bear paws and me.

In his winter, we are frozen in time, and I
am more than memory, more than an itch
that shouldn’t be scratched. I tell him I should stay
a memory , a block of time captured only
in faded photographs, I tell him this
because it’s true.
At birth, only fingerprints defined the difference between
the creatures with the small, round heads. Both of them constantly cried
began and ended in a constant open-mouthed scream, black eyes tightly shut
Tiny hands clenched in mirror-perfect fists. It’s impossible to know
How their mother chose which infant to love and which to hate,
what tiny imperfection drew her ire.

At birth, only their fingerprints defined the difference between
The small, hairy bodies, the tiny forms that screamed and cried
Every night. Perhaps it was the pitch of the screams that separated the twins
In their mother’s ears alone, perhaps it was the way one tossed and turned more
in its sleep, an indication of needing more love from her, or perhaps
some indication of a rejection she herself couldn’t handle. Or perhaps
it was the quieter twin that earned her ire, easier to ignore than the louder one
easier to surrender to the dark.
Despite My Reservations Regarding Apocalypses
the dragon outside my bedroom window tells me
that the end is coming soon, that it’s okay to get drunk
fucked up, fuck around, because it’s all going to come crashing down
so very soon
that there’s no reason to practice prudence or prudishness. it blinks its gigantic
blue-green eyes at me through the crack between the flowered bedroom curtains
so beguilingly I have no choice but to believe it’s true.

later, in the kitchen, the dragon curls up around my tiny dinette
tail delicately tucked around its body and out of the way of my heavy feet
watches me cooking dinner, tells me I should order a pizza instead
because there’s no reason to keep any money in my bank account
or worry about cholesterol or being fat or the evildoings or shady associations
of certain corporate pizza places
when the end of the world is so close
so very close
that the dragon can already taste the smoldering embers of burning cities on its tongue
already knows what I’ll look and smell like when I’m dead
the bird inside me flaps tight beneath my skin, scratches
with tiny claws at my insides, tells me that the only reason
I’m not a sack of deflated skin lying empty by the side of the street
is that it’s just too small and tired to break free. I take a deep breath
force the thing inside me still with the pressure of my inflated lungs.

sometimes at night, I can feel the wings of the tiny bird inside me
slipping into place just behind my shoulder blades, feel pinfeathers
stretch all the way down the front of my arms, and I whisper
no, you can’t have me yet. I hold the wings and claws and feet and pointed beaks
tight and still and quiet inside me, murmur promises of a day
when I’m so old and tired myself

that there’ll be nothing left to hold it all in.
I spread my hands open to the wind and flowers appear, fingers turn to petals
stamins dripping pollen sprout from palms. I will my toes
to stretch to roots and find their way into the earth, push past layers
of broken concrete and half-decayed cedar chips, find their way down
to the underground trickles filling the tunnels left by earthworms
deep beneath the ground. This is where I will stay

leaves brachiating like millipedes, death-scented flowers
tumbling from my skin, vines spreading outward from a central stalk
determined to reach your home, only just contained by your constant lawn mowing
and experiments with pesticides and fertilizer, I will
see you next summer.