Halfway through the mission, the operative called
his handler and told her the children
in the park he could see from the clerestory
were flying kites with tails decorated in ribbon
and foil. They are putting a real emphasis on aesthetics,
he told her. Some of us are born with priorities,
and the rest of us make due with aerodynamics.
Where’s the package, she wanted to know.
He told her the smell after a rain is produced
by soil-dwelling bacteria, and there are oils on plants
after dry spells that rise into the air and hover.
I always thought, she said, that was ozone, and asphalt.
It’s that too, he said. Your perfume is like rubber
on asphalt after a rain. Where is the package, she asked,
and don’t say things like that. Someone is always
listening. There are these women pushing strollers.
They walk in unison. Where is the package,
she asked. Petrichor, he said. Petrichor is the name
of the smell after rain. There’s this one kid, he said,
off by himself with a radio-controlled airplane.
That was me. The kid, she said, picturing him as a child
so serious, maybe with glasses, though she knew
he had perfect vision, and always had.
No, the plane, he said, I’m the plane.
ALLEZ TOUS VOUS FAIRE FOUTRE
All to you, fair fortune goes, and to you
go the fairest portions. Of you and all your
portions fairly gone: your all and your fairness
gone, your forgone fairness, your fairly all,
all in a gone forgone. Gone are your all
fairest tunes, for a tune is a your and a portion
earned. Gone is your fairest daughter. A fair
slaughter is a fortune is a far gone sweetness,
a gone tune is a silent fair. All to you the fortune
portioned by a bygone affair. All affairs your
fortune to fare. All is fair in a slaughter
of fortune. All is fair is your portion to bear.
AT 7:10 P.M. I’M CLOSING MY HEART TO YOU FOREVER
In the movie about suffering
an unavoidable attraction
to a jackass,
I am the heroine with a suitcase
stuffed with smart suits I’ll never wear
if all goes well. I’m back from Paris
where I learned to cook and now
I can crack an egg
with mechanical efficiency.
I can swing a pullet by the head.
Or, I am a debutante and never had to work.
Or I am a single mom in the Midwest who answers
personal ads placed by small boys
for their fathers
and hardly ever gets chopped up into hopeful pieces.
There are times when I descend
the stairs to the underworld
in a red dress
and I’m so eager
to distance myself
from this sunlit world and all
its pearly promise—
I can barely stop
myself from pitching forward –
I can hardly hear the man snapping
how he says I’m a star
or about to be
which is like saying I am a collection
of molecules burning
and that I’ll be gone
just as the first eyes blink at my light.
is Pushcart winning author of Fair Copy
(Ohio State University Press, 2012), winner of the 2011 Ohio State University Press / The Journal Award in Poetry, and Vow
, from Cleveland State University Press. Her poems have appeared in Smartish Pace, Poetry
, and Best American Poetry 2013
. You can follow her on Twitter