Wrecked-Home WreckersThe home they came to undo was already undone.
I was hiding from the Repo-man at the corner
of foreclosure and bankruptcy while everything had about it
the suggestion of exaggeration and emergency those two years
I lived alone: the worn brake pads, the busted
hot water heater, the euthanized dog, the ground too
frozen to bury her in, my father’s death, the electrician
I thought I loved, his common law marriage, helped
with none of it. John. Everything about him, average.
Women came and went in your life from all corners
of the world made small by high
speed internet connections, strung
together by the common thread
of their ridiculous names. Maybe
that’s how they found you, creeping, but you would like to
believe in fanfare or fate. The first was missing an s
at the ending of her name, which should have rightly had it
pronounced “eesa” instead of “essa,” but the British
have their own language. Wisconsin dragged one in,
the y right in the middle
of her name facing you like spread legs
you had to crawl between. Long before her
was one missing what should have been a y,
but her mother, who had always wanted to visit Paris
in the spring, stuck an i in its place, added a couple e’s
at the end. Without the accent mark, it rightly should have
had a long vowel sound, a name that trailed off
like a childish shriek. That was nothing
like what she had anticipated for her blue-eyed blond
with the big round bottom, but you were not what she wanted
for her either. News of our marriage left her
in the snow-covered driveway unconscious. Or so
the story goes. You had your share
of commonplace’s too, I’m sure,
bar bitches from your small town who didn’t do the trick,
who all lacked the je ne sais quoi of real love.
Referential ManiaEverything is hideously symbolic
Dorianne Laux, “Abschied Symphony”
The ashtray hanging above the no-smoking sign, its one eye hole
daring and inviting someone at the County Assistance Office
of Mental Health (And Retardation, both) to extinguish
a butt before entering by way of code punched
into an archaic phone pad, speaks to me. It says I should
quit smoking before I die of cancer.
It says time is running out. Life contains a code
I have yet to crack.
The book of poetry that showed up in my mailbox
says my name in it, right there in the text. This is no coincidence,
even though my name is a month and that is probably what
the poet meant. The songs on the radio,
their metallic complaint of whining electric
guitar speak to me, talking of skin graphs and war
and making peace before we all die. Before we all cease.
The approach of autumn. My dying
petunias and hibiscus. These things say to me
it is time to do something great. But I do not know what
that something is. So I light another cigarette, let its smell roll
up in waves around my hair, consume me with its aura,
look for following fire.
April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two sons. She recently finished her first collection of poetry, for which she is seeking a publisher and is working on a memoir on raising a child with autism. Her work has appeared in journals such as Poetry Salzburg, Convergence, Ascent Aspirations, The Camel Saloon, Centrifugal Eye, Deadsnakes, Montucky Review, Visceral Uterus, Salome, Poetry Quarterly, Writing Tomorrow and Rattle. The author also serves as co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press.