The Private Place Where You Live With Me Part Time

You are at the sidelines of my poetry
only because you take your place
as the centerpiece on my kitchen table
in the form of a bouquet of roses
we bought for International Women’s Day

the red crowns so dark they are almost morose
and born of thorns leveled out
by the innocence of baby’s breath
when you went off to work, I sat by them
thinking back to my Victorian lessons
both of these clusters representing
if I recall, everlasting love and marriage

and I ran my fingers and thumbs
across the petals, fingering them
right off their stems until they fluttered
down to the table raining white and red
before I knew it, I had made a mess

then I gathered the discarded petals
the red and white settling into a path
to my bedroom and the shape of a heart on my bed
to stage the appearance that all I had done
while you were gone is wait and pine for your return


This American Life

He says, “I don’t want to live

a Brazilian life. I want an American life

like you. I want to get married when I’m 26

and have a baby at 30. That’s why I admire you

because you waited until you got your career straight.”

“Nah,” I sigh, “that’s exactly what I wanted, too”

He says, “Well, you still have time,” and then

after a pause, he asks, “Wait, how old are you?


How Not to Marry an American

“What kind of a woman
whisks a mother’s only son
Away to Saudi Arabia?
Last I checked,
he just wanted to go
to an amusement park.”

“Come on, Mrs. B,
it’s a really good
job opportunity.”

“I swear to god,
if you take that boy
away from me…
Gladys, hold my earrings!
I want to show this woman
a thing or two
about the nature of ISIS.
It has alot to do
with mother son relationships
when they’re threatened…
Don’t you dare take my son
off of this continent.”

Talking to Kids

A 9 year old girl tells me
her mom says its ok
if she marries a guy or a woman
and a little boy says
“Ew, that’s disgusting!”
“What’s so bad about it?”
I ask, “So long as that person
is nice and makes you happy.”
and he doesn’t say anything,
I can see that he’s thinking.

I catch the same girl
kissing the wall
and she explains that she will marry it
She says, “Ms. P, no one else
is ever going to want
to marry me, so I might as well”
I don’t know if it’s
the right thing to tell her
but I say, “No one
wants to marry me, either
and you don’t see me
kissing inanimate objects.”
(Although, in a way,
I’m lying. I kiss people
like they’re walls all the time
and I’ve almost married walls
three times)

then the door she’s hanging off of
opens into a creepy cellar
with bare bulbs and brick lining
and a couple of huge
mysterious machines

“Why isn’t this door locked?”
I demand
and the support staff
assumes I am a teenager,
like them.
“I dunno,” they answer.

“This should be locked,
we need to get someone to lock it
within the half hour.
I’m not going to allow this.”

and they say, “You know,
I’m not surprised
you’re freaking.
A little boy died down there,
it’s haunted. Maybe you
could feel it?”

and they say this
right in front of
my children.