A Misplaced MemoryIrina Oren (Wilcox…Oren-Wilcox?) glows, inside and out. Having just arrived for her own wedding reception (my wedding, she kept saying to herself, with increasing hysteria), she kisses Michael enthusiastically on both cheeks and the lips and, apologizing profusely to everyone, rushes to the ladies' room to get her first elated look at herself as a married woman.
The restroom is way too big, way too lavender, and way too plush for a restroom. The mirror is floor-length and takes up the entire wall beside the prissy row of sinks. Her eyes flit around her own reflection. Flushed cheeks – check. Lace and little flowers – check. Golden band on fourth finger of the left hand – check. She practices flashing her wedding smile. White teeth – check. Perfect posture – check. Empty eyes – check. Fuck. There it is again. That politician's wife smile. That ugly disappointment and plastic happiness.
She doesn't understand it. Her joy had felt so alive in tha
InsomniaYou asked me how I felt
as I sat below you in my thoughts
and I confessed to you my dread
that I had broken something beautiful.
I sat on the curb for hours
in the embryonic morning
and the city told me its secrets:
A woman walking backwards
through the alleyways, determined
toward a destination she could not see;
a man sitting in the road, his bare chest
caved and heaving in the humidity.
Later, I returned to the place
where the broken pieces lay
And I pulverized them beyond recognition,
having realized that they meant nothing to me.
StuckI have begun to write in pen
Day after day
of dirty rumination
I am not yet ready for the universe.
I have chosen to sit outside today
and deny myself the comforts
of an enclosed and lonely space.
The red-brown trees, shedding
droplets of water and showers
of snow. The white sun reaching
out of the black tangle of arms.
A strand of spider silk, stretched
between the cracked wooden pickets
of my perch. My feet on the planks,
shifting in the dirt and ash and pine needles
filthy and pink from the sharp air,
which nudges gently at the encasement,
pushes through to me,
unsettles the coat of dullness
that has held me under
for months now.