by Lana Hechtman Ayers
after Molly Ellen Pearson
As soon as I open the window,
the sky climbs in dragging her
bridal train of clouds. I only
wanted to air out the pandemic
stale, instead there are kites
swooping over the kitchen sink
and hummingbirds buzzing
around the lampshade. Yesterday,
I thought my hand resembled
a piece of toast & I’m gluten
intolerant. My poor elderly cat
battles dust mice under the couch.
I wonder if I’ll ever sleep on
a raft of starlight instead of
underground, & whether my dog
dreams in color or stereo. Days
become inscrutable as kumquats
& I scribe lines of used dental floss
across the pages of my notebook.
Is it really spring or is the mud
pretending celebrity? Daffodils
solve the square root of yellow.
I zigzag from cupboard to closet
seeking a way to complete
the circuit of knowledge. My life
is forty paces, end to end. Coffee
aroma fills me with longing.
The computer screen flutters
with paper dolls, & lately I have
been struck blind looking in
mirrors, struck dumb gazing at
lettuce awaiting shredding
on the cutting board. What does
it take to make proper reparations
for being human? Some nights
the moon shouts in translated sun.
Some nights the moon is mute
& I buy raffle tickets for the rain.
I’m tired of shallow breathing, this
everlasting Gordian knot of grief.
Lana Hechtman Ayers has shepherded over eighty poetry collections into the world in her role as managing editor at three small presses. Her poems have appeared online at Rattle, Escape Into Life, Verse Daily, and The Poet’s Café, as well as in print journals and her nine published collections. She lives in an Oregon, USA town of more cows than people. Sabiyha Prince is an anthropologist, artist, and author based in Washington, DC. Her books and essays explore urban change and African American culture, and her paintings and photo collages grapple with memory, identity, kinship and inequality.