The raw and marbled pork shoulder lay bare on the table
so she rested her shoulder against it.
Her mother’s crusty plates schemed in the sink while
legions of ants pillaged a half-eaten cruller.
She didn’t know what haphazard meant,
or even meekly, but at the laptop
she dutifully began to answer vocabulary questions
& mused as an 8th grade girl can—
if only life could be multiple choice
& if only the fourth try counted.
She was at the edge of wilderness in this kitchen,
a student of the flavors of geyser.
A fly straddled X on her keyboard,
a pair of wine glasses with snapped necks
surrendered on the counter.
That night she dreamt of a mass of orphaned balloons
huddling together in a corner of the cosmos.
Next morning, when she opened her eyes
she felt knotted but akin
to the period at the end of a sentence.
Downstairs her mother was finishing her mug
of clumsy imperative.
She was plum out of dazzle, & her shift
at Denny’s was waiting.
How to right what’s wrong with a life—
with a nail gun or a prayer?
How many times do I have to tell you
as magma heaved upward
& finally their two continents
cleaved for a lifetime.
The most important thing
is that everyone who wants a catapult gets a catapult.
(J. Olien’s cartoon caption in The New Yorker, April 15, 2019)
Last week my son married a pretzel but never told me,
me who avoids Facebook at her own peril, peril
now his of too many posted puns salting
salty declarations of love for the bread knots
knotting their union, bioavailable of course.
A full course of flirty ukulele melodies,
mellowing the launch of any pretzel wife
in a wiffery state of affection which could catapult
her catapult which will hurl him as an easy mark—
mark my words—his vulnerability made the best angle,
angling her battle machine for tendering
his tenderness baked through. Together their selfies
selfisized their physics—she the cuddling counterweight
for his payload loaded for romance & just the right smack—
then snack—his snack with a late late night beer.