I was sixteen, over-medicated,
too stoned to remember
what it was I said that morning
that my father took offense to,
probably something like:
It helps with my appetite
and you’re the one who said
I looked too skinny. Did you not?
This was the spring, my junior year.
I’d spent the winter in the adolescent
anorexic psychiatric unit
where this girl had slipped a Ziploc
of multicolored cotton thread
in my assigned slot
of the corrugated mailbox
with a folded note:
Here is all my extra string
because you love to make those
bracelets. Jesus loves your vibrant soul
and so do I. Your friend, Elizabeth.
Although I failed to recognize
Your handwriting till much later.
Just as I failed to see Your hand
that springtime morning, swap
the blue ceramic plates stacked
on the table with an open box
of Thomas English muffins
for my dad, in his exhaustion,
to fling, like little frisbees,
one by one, in my direction.
At the Pharmacy
Oh God, redirect
my superficial arteries
to circumvent my pelvis
offload my blood
of lead and Ritalin
into the Sea
of Galilee to be dammed
in the interlocking ponds
along the bank
and left to vaporize.
Come time to harvest,
encapsulate the residue
in little glycerin capsules
and write me a controlled
prescription for it, Oh God.
Be my crooked pharmacist.
Be my refill, authorized
too soon. Or be
the last remaining
value-pack of DayQuil
that I reach for
at the same time as the lady
in the pink mask
in the wheelchair
with the smile
and the courtesy to wait
until I’m turned
before she puts
the bottle back
and takes the Purell
from her purse.
Days of Noah
I strapped two bungee cords across the lid
of a pot of chicken soup that would not fit
inside the fridge and carried it—still warm—
across the black-ice-laminated porch
and set it on the Adirondack chair, the seat
of which was tilted, inclined inwardly,
so that for an awful moment I just watched
the full pot sliding, spinach decoupaged
onto the inside of the fogged-up lid.
The contents sloshing hot and turbulent
inside the vessel, unsettled
by the lunar pull, by the volume of itself
and by my arrogance: My actually believing
I could keep it from those prying, thieving
raccoon fingers with my industrial elastic,
an underestimation of their motor skills so tragic
that You intercepted—purely out of pity—
and brought my runaway container to an easy
stop against the faux-wood back slats
of the outdoor chair that absolutely should have
overturned. If what I wrought depended
on what I deserved and not the blood and water
that You scrubbed into the fatty ridges of
my coarsely-salted black cast-iron heart,
I would have been a corkscrew noodle
in a pool of sixty quarts worth
of my own stock. Lord, I would have been
a broken wishbone lodged
beneath a raccoon’s claw were it not for
Your clutch time intervention,
it would be my thighs and haunches,
in that stock pot on that chair
right there. I’d be something like that
instead of standing here, de-feathered but intact.
My fibers taut, my oven mitts mismatched.
Emily Louise is a fiery new Christian convert with an MFA in Creative Writing. She enjoys writing poems about writing poems and currently has about twelve gray hairs. She spends her free time wondering who put them there and strongly suspects it was you. Yes, you.
Photo Credit: “Spirits in fog” by Jim Surkamp, Flickr.com.