The Trump Years
The fireflies are lit and the field
makes a Rothko with the sky.
The stray cats eat food
my mother left—the sound of their bites
like someone unwrapping a package.
The gray one sneaks up
behind me, runs when I try
to touch its head. I want to stay here:
my parents on the swing, me
in a lawn chair in the middle
of my life. The TV turned off, house silent.
In a week we’ll find the mother cat
dead, a coyote will have killed
the kittens. The larger griefs
of the world make the smaller ones
more. I’ll drag her body
from under the porch with a stick.
You Better Get Used to This
Turning quickly in a city I didn’t know, two men
tailed me into a parking lot, honking, flipping
me off for cutting them off
accidentally—caused me to smash my car
into their car. I won’t pretend I wasn’t scared.
I won’t pretend I didn’t think: white trash—
one of them pounding the hood, leaving dents
in the car my parents gave me
when I couldn’t afford one, the car I take care of
because I’m dumb enough to still believe
in gratitude. I had picked up
dry cleaning, bought a birthday card, turned left.
They were speeding, followed me,
caused the crash they yelled at me
for almost causing. I had been happy.
I had made the mistake of making a mistake
in America, in the South, though this happens everywhere.
The man said, If I wasn’t in a hurry, I’d kill you,
and then he blurred, almost silent—his mouth
a smudge, his half-hearted
facial hair, his friend’s stretched-out underwear band-
ing his flabby waist, their bodies as sad
and angry as their sadness and anger. I thought:
stay calm, stay alive, and the inside of the car became the pool
I pushed myself to the bottom of in childhood
the time my father screamed at me
when he caught me playing with makeup.
It was an accident, I repeated through the window.
Everyone says I did the right thing. I survived
to come back to my dog, to my
dying mom, to my sister grabbed by a man
between the legs the day after the election.
You better get used to this now, little lady.
They sped off, their rage loaded
back inside their bodies. I buffed
the scratches from the fender, but am stuck
with the greasy, expensive handprints in the hood.
Image By: http://www.mark-rothko.org/images/paintings/number-14.jpg