I am writing to you from a far-away
place. The future is nowhere in sight.
You won’t learn anything new. I’m not
alone – the ghosts whisper into intercoms
at night. There’s a suitcase in the hallway
that I keep forgetting to move. Sometimes
the light shines into this darkness, and I read
magazines with pictures of the famous
dead, piles of yesteryear’s scandals. None
of this matters anymore. It’s always late
afternoon, and I’m always waiting for someone
to come home. A lit cigarette rests on a saucer
that has never been used for anything except ashes.
The Serpent Consumes Itself
You won’t like why I’m telling
you this story about when the carnival
came to town. Set up in the mall
parking lot next to the dying Sears,
the late summer heat glints off the steel,
and from the top of the Ferris wheel, I
can see the highway rising like an ordinary
hallucination in the dog days of summer.
It leaves within days as if it was never
there, and yet I am still suspended
on the top of this world I’ve known
forever, understanding this limbo exists
within my blood, always knowing when
the carnival comes to town, I realize it never left.
I Didn’t Mean to Scare You
A girl crawls out of the dumpster
at the Shell where I am getting
gas early Sunday morning, the heat
already like a blanket. In the bleached
denim light, I gather empty water
bottles and fast food wrappers to toss
while the girl motions to someone
who crawls out of the dumpster which
appears to contain multitudes. I curse
myself for letting the tank get to almost
empty while the numbers rise. My Russian
nesting dolls from the dumpster walk
into an alley, gone from my sight. Did
they find what they were looking for?
Does anyone? All I know is that gas prices
are rising again, making me wonder why
it costs so much to get anywhere at all.
Michelle Brooks has published a collection of poetry, Make Yourself Small, (Backwaters Press), and a novella, Dead Girl, Live Boy, (Storylandia Press). Her poetry collection, Flamethrower, will be published by Latte Press in 2019. A native Texan, she has spent much of her adult life in Detroit.