Phyllis

My lemon tree. The pool.
Avocado-colored everything.

Black wrought iron, bar stools
at my kitchen counter. This is
California, where I followed
my parents, had a husband
and three children, and now

a divorce. I wear my hair big.

I pretend to be younger than
I am. Leslie knows the truth,
but I don’t see him often, or

his wife and children. I can’t

help it that I was always
Mother’s favorite. She calls
me Phyll, comes over a few

times each week. She knows
my children well. Leslie could
have had all of this, too. He
chose to stay in Ohio when
our parents moved. That’s
right—he chose! And now

I see him bristle when
Mother brags about my

children, treats his like

the visitors they are. Well,

we all make our choices in

life. I chose a lemon tree, am

happy to have everything

that came along with it.

 

 

 

For NaPoWriMo, Day 20. Sorry it doesn’t look as Ryu-tastic as usual. One of Ryu’s quirks is that if you copy and paste, it doesn’t autocorrect the font for you. Sometimes I can manage to type directly in the WordPress window, and sometimes I can’t. WordPress users … Have you encountered this with your theme, too, and if so — any workarounds? Thanks!

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Out into Nothing

It’s a long day
when there’s a freeway
down the middle of your heart.

Falling vampires in the shadows.
Good girls are made to be broken.
Is that your name written in the sky?

What carries you away?—Jesus?
Elvis? Horses? Your boyfriend? Or is it
all the bad boys of Southern California?

 

 

I wanted a fall song, and somehow I ended up with “Free Fallin’” by Tom Petty. There’s more to it than I remembered—lots for me to work with, and a real sense of place.

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Desi Arnaz Western Hills Hotel, Palm Springs, for Open Link Night

Desi Arnaz Western Hills Hotel, Palm Springs 

Phyllis poses on the diving board, arms out
in front of her, stiff as if she’s frozen there,
a zombie in a black bathing suit. Awful.

I should have been the one; I could have
given it a real sense of motion. My parents keep
my medals in the cedar chest they’re saving

for if I ever get married someday. But I
filled out the yellow bathing suit better;
the good thing about that is, I am in

the foreground. I’ll be the one you notice first,
on my chaise by the pool, as Phyllis and I,
Donna, and the rest—I feel sorry for some,

the girls whose heads will be dots in my
background—spin on a rack in the lobby,
by the cigarettes, next year and the next.

 

 

For Open Link Night, at dVerse Poets. Also, take a minute to see if you can figure out, generally, what I’m talking about … and then click here and see how close you think I got. (And many thanks to Kitchen Retro for giving me something to write about today.)

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