poetry

the birth of lowercase and a ditty for shmummy     

in seventeen or eighteen minutes a single ray of light ransacked the balding lawn around back and shmummy was kicking lowercase out.  

 

lowercase tried like heck not to tear through shmummy’s muddy surface as she pushed, laced her toes through a slat between her ribs, curled her double-jointed pinkie around her kidney.  

 

as shmummy stopped for an irked breath while a hefty aunt who smelled like chicken cutlets massaged her feet, lowercase plopped an eyeball against that stench and scrutinized her future: 

 

pea-green table legs, empty carton of temptee cream cheese, crocheted doll-head toilet cover cozy, and a paint by number of the last supper hanging above the hifi in the dining room.

 

eviction pressed on. shmummy pushed with the force of an orca, blew a bloody vessel in her right eye and grunted through the sateen bedspread stuffed into her mouth like a gag.  

 

but when lowercase slipped on shmummy’s torment and squelched through a molassesy sadness that saw no end­­­––shmummy was pissed. she inhaled lint and cat fur from the sea of shag carpet, and exhaled the lay-z-boy with the broken lever.  

 

the force was too much. lowercase never wanted out. she grabbed and grabbed and held nothing. she clawed without claws, without bones, without muscles, and held nothing.

 

lowercase busted a tiny gut trying not to upset ol’ shmummy, and soon enough this tug and pull became their song.

first appeared in great weather for MEDIA

dear robert smith,

 

i’m obsessed with the word slouch. what is it that draws me to slouches? is it the ch sound? is it the ouch sound? probably the latter. is it okay to pretend you are a slouch, innocuous and slightly leaning?

first appeared in otis nebula

 

dear robert smith,

 

gunna snip. gunna slit. 

 

gunna put something red and pulsing inside of me, and take something half-dead and bloated out. gunna hurt. the pain gunna get eiderdown pillows for it’s swollen ankles. gunna expect me move-on after things are altered. gunna wheedle me back to my couch with the huge russet flowers. gunna give me fine cotton to cover my mouth, and my breath will most likely make me angry. gunna remind me of the gift some loveydove ripped from their soul to save me. gunna say, “we cut through her taut muscle,” and i’m gunna cry for her during my uncomfortable sponge bath. gunna repeat the word “humbling” while adjusting the wire pasted beneath my sad tit as if i have not been perfecting the act of humble since birth. gunna open the goddam shades in my room, and i’m gunna keep my radical hate for the sun to myself because no one wants to hear shit like that when they are trying to help you. my teeth are gunna yellow into sad daffodils, and i’m gunna beg everyone who enters my room to grab a clorox freshscent disinfecting wipe to help purify the doorknob. gunna mutter, “just relax hun, cuz the real journey lies ahead when you get out of this dump.” gunna tell me that the pulsing thing inside of me isn’t a baby so stop rubbing your belly like it is. but i’m not gunna stop rubbing it--

 

never, ever, ever.

first appeared in LEVELER

© 2020 Christine Tierney