april tanka

   round red pomo-naut
   you are the apple growing my belly
       and the cyanide tumoring my brain
            wet slice of cantaloupe
                ripe black opium
                    static stalking radio pollen
                        cadet blue overalls
                            creamy sweaters sway
                                plum sap showers ooze (on the lettered keys)
you make my sensor tendrils sticky—

I wish I could convince your scent
                                your taste your feel
                                    to stay
                                        to come closer
                                            to turn into touch
pale winter hands reaching for
                                        shy rosebuds
                                                                shattering pale pink globes
                                                    of ice

okay, cupid

I keep asking,
where do the flowers come from?
a single girl could only wish
after the 9 to 5
to arrive home to a table flocked with flowers,
but in this house
there are 5 of us
and in this house
we sleep alone in queen-sized beds
on faux fur (“vegan”) cloud nines,
jungle musk surrounding us,
a salubrious mix of sage cleansing,
sex positivity and dirty dishes

you could say we are the queens here,
each reigning her own lonely corner
whether she fills it with stuffed animal jesters
or loyal empty-chinese-takeout subjects,
if she chooses sex over sleep
or sleep over sex
and makes a lot of noise during each
is clearly up to her,
she pays the rent she owns the space

but please, honey, close your door for once
privacy is not always a luxury, but a courtesy
in her double helix, momma gifted me OCD,
have you ever heard of microchimerism?

I’m sorry I woke you up at 5am
I was mopping your coffee spills off the floors
someone’s gotta do it
and my whites won’t get any whiter,
no matter how hot I run the water
so no worries over the electric bill making us broker
than our millennial upbringing already set us up for
the only rule in fem-land is we don’t moan about college loans
(but for everything else, it is encouraged)

plus there is more energy used in flicking the lights off and on,
you would save more money
if you weren’t a statistic
what I mean is, did you know female twenty-somethings consume the most wine?

we’re each our own flavor of anxious,
deciding if we should work on our linkedin page or
smoke a bowl on the porch (yes, in front of the children)
and go to the hills for some fresh air
how about we find a protest?
or go out for some overpriced tapas and mojitos for once
like all the other young professionals?

those flowers, by the way, they’re for me
from some hopeful
I can’t remember his or her or their name

we met on Facebook

of all the places we could have conspired:

      I imagine 2 am in a New Jersey diner,
the five-layer cakes and fruit pies
rotating in their cases
my eyes tripped wide
fixated on your muscular ass
in a relaxed pair of classic-blue jeans as
      you walk in circles
an unraveled smog of black cotton
unwilling to admit you’re lost,
then finally
       you ask a waitress for the bathroom

       you pass my table and
our smells mix nice together,
my fingertips sticky from marijuana and
       you soaked sour from a fight that
       you almost won

       I’m with friends, but they’re all disinterested
poking at their phones to this week’s flings

       I order a green tea with extra honey
and a bowl of french onion soup
       I take off my jacket
and pull at the hem of my shirt,
dressed with no one to impress, but
       I want you, stranger
to notice that I do have a figure underneath
this oversized-band-groupie-tee
       I want you to know that I’m not looking, but
       I could be looking to be stumbled upon

the men’s door swings open,
sparing a glimpse of the urinals, and
       you come stomping out,
the gentlest thing I’ve ever seen

       I look at your feet
because books always told me to first judge a man
by his shoes and the good ones usually only wear one practical pair
       I look at your head
and your brain is massive,
       I could fit my entire stash in your popped skull
and all the crumpled poems, too
       I look at your brow
and it’s fixed, serious,
a straight-lined temple,
a tightrope I’d like to test

and then,
       you look at me looking at you, and
       you smile, gingerly, afraid,
as if too much emotion
would taint my first impression of
you and your reasons for being here tonight

       you walk back to a booth across from another
grisly dude much taller than you, and
       I leave,
the thought of you
left as dust collecting on the jukebox

                   but it didn’t happen like that.

instead, you popped up on my computer screen
one unsuspecting winter day,
a little icon chiming “run away with me”
and I liked the idea of that
the unrealism and romance to it
so I wrote you into my stories

one night, not so many weeks later,
       we found ourselves in a New Jersey diner at 2 am,
       I ordered green tea with extra honey
       you got black coffee and rare steak
and we kept thinking it,
but neither would say it,
thank god for the 21st century.