Making out with my dog in the middle of an awkward conversation

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I left my door unlocked
after telling everyone
never to ever come near me again
and that my door wasn’t open
well, it wasn’t,
but neither was it locked
I believe in second chances
and thirds and fourths.

and my little Korean dog
slipped back through it!
and her new owner,
my ex boyfriend,
said, “Listen, I know
you don’t want me
coming around anymore
and I don’t care.
But I don’t think
you’re doing well, either
so, here.
I’m going away for the weekend,
with a woman, and I think
that you should take her.”
and she
jumped in my arms!

My little Korean dog,
my 바두기, remember
when we lived with Shaira?
you never liked her.
I should’ve listened to you
better. Oh, but you stayed put
so well in the basket of
my bicycle, I never went anywhere
without you-
Oh, my big strong man,
my little Korean dog,
Batman, we are going
to have so much fun!

“Yeah, ok. You better
get going then.”

“Sure. I’ll pick her back up
after the weekend.”

“K. Thanks.”

The holidays are so much less hard
with my little Korean dog.

My Old Friend

I shuttled straight back to Asia
by accident through some book I was reading
about the temples, the practices and everything

Where we dined at restaurants on our knees
with you by my side, I could do the yoga
the meditative practice; I became a better person.
You didn’t know why I was doing it.
Because by then, I had started to feel better,
and wanted to keep it going.

I had children to take care of, I did farming.
I used to eat every day from the community garden
grown from dry patches with the children’s fingers
staking, while I caged them
water ran free from the river once we found it
and vinegar was my best friend
for the floors the vegetables and my skin

You didn’t like how good I was becoming
you said I could only move in with you
if I would stop recycling-
You were so funny. I wish you never left me.
Because when you left, I couldn’t keep to it.
My friend, I wish you had never left me.
Because then, I was like
so many woven hats unravelling.

I hope that someday,
I can return to something like it
I miss you.
I miss the way we used to sleep, soundly.
But I don’t even know where you’re going.
I’d like, at least, a visit.
I’ve never felt so lonely,
did you know that?
you said we would get old together
after our husbands died
at suspiciously similar times..
You were so funny, but
did you ever mean it, even?

Everything I loved when I was younger
either got ruined or slipped away
like so many airplanes
floating out of orbit, carelessly.
Won’t you come visit me?

I won’t read any more books about Asia.
I’m refusing. I think I’ll just lie here,
with my blanket and my heater,
and no one to visit.
Look at how old I’m becoming already,
you don’t really want to miss that,
do you? Please, visit me.

Please, please do.

Margaret is Dying

Margaret is dying.
Margaret, the schizophrenic woman
whose wheelchair I was always pushing
is dying. My father feeds her pumpkin pie
instead of oatmeal on Christmas morning
even though she has diabetes
that’s how I know she’s done in.
He told me she had her first
psychotic break when she was sixteen
and went camping with her family-
That’s when people started to see
that she had really lost it.
Our Margaret has been done in further,
now she’s losing everything.

From the Factory

I am a sausage
from the meat packing factory
so many hands have touched me
retrieving me from the freezer,
separating my links from
my brothers and sisters
and rolling me into the form
I take today, curved,
hunched over-
I’ve gone through
hot, hot fires
and machines pressing,
adding preservatives
for your dining pleasure

Home

My father’s cats
are even more
skittish
than I am
but they flock
to him.

I remember how
gentle
his voice was
when he sang
to one of them
who was dying.

My father picks
wildflowers
for the kitchen,
chops wood
for the living room
and he cooks
for all of us
even though now,
he has a bad hip.

My father still
speaks kindly
of my mother-
even after everything
that’s happened

and he says to me,
“Please, don’t
ever let anyone
make you feel
like you can’t
come home again.”

Hannukkah

I get Hannukkah presents for Christmas
so I know I didn’t make it home exactly
although I took a train, well meaning
and won a lot of gelt at dreidel
drunkenly and felt nothing-
that’s when I realized
I wasn’t where I should be.

it’s not too late, though
I will make it home this year
I promise. This is the year
it’ll happen, really.

A Bad Day

“It’s like waves
all the normal
minutes I’ve lived
recede
and the horrible
ones come crashing
forward.
It makes me
not want to live
my worst memories
over and over

because then there’s
no room for
ice cream and
to pet the dog
or that time
I smiled at that girl
and she smiled back at me
or anything.

Once, I had a real job.
I taught little kids,
they were adorable-
they liked me.
I loved them.
and I cant right now.

I don’t have anything
to give. I’m not me.
What kind of life
is that to live?
You know, I don’t
remember exactly…
but I know that once
I was something, somebody
I just cant remember who
it was I wanted to be
but I’m sure it was lovely.
and that’s what hurts
that I might’ve liked her
and she’s lost to me.”

“Ms. Park, there is
a way to get out of this,
just remember who you are.
Say my name is Georgia
and the year is 2016
and I remember
what I had for breakfast
and that’s it.
You don’t need to know
what else happened.

Remember the day
that it is today
note the weather
and how it feels
on your skin.”

“But doctor,
that’s not even
my real name.
You should admit
that it’s too late
for me today.”

“Ok, Ms. Park,
so sleep until
its not today
anymore
and try again
tomorrow.”

“Christmas is coming.”

“Yeah, and you’re going
to go home for it.
You know what that means,
you know what it is,
you know you have people
to see. You can
surprise them.
They’ll be happy.
You do know
that this is only today,
don’t you?”

Silence.

“Ms. Park, and that is your name,
because you told me
that’s what to call you today
and I’m listening to you-
and I’m kind, too,

Ms. Park,
you are having
a bad day
preceded by
years of nonsense
you never dealt with.
This was building up.
Don’t you know
its going to be
ok? It has been,
really,
and it will be again.”

“Oh. Ok. Thanks.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. I’m going to go
to sleep.”

“Good. Finally.”