Poem: Marlan S.

Illo for Marlan S.'s poem.

tongue funny with bromelain

Turned down for a job with the postal industry,
I embrace my sloth’s pace of life. I visit the same
place in all my dreams. A hotel for people like me,
when they are waiting around, when they are waiting for
someone. Groomed the lobby of sleep with all my time.

After falling asleep in bed watching YouTube videos
of a lithe dumb youngin in her kiddie pool swimming
with her pet ball python. Kissing its nose, grabbing
and holding its face under the blueclear film of faucet
water hot from the sun on the hoses, she’s looking
at it in the eyes through her goggles, next to a body
with full range of motion, satanic and adorable.

At my job I sing radio tunes in the walk-in cooler.
To mimic a vacation, to feel like time is passing,
and to cut a panicked silence. Watch a man pulling
a sharp leaf out of an organic good-luck pineapple
to tell if it is ripe. All over America people touch

the fruits in the stores on the sides of strip malls
with such delicacy and determination. Today this
act dredges up a message I was supposed to deliver
from the morning: a neighbor that had stopped by.
What is the connection? What triggered this,
such a pointless memory. Ruining my day.

You sent a letter but I am bitter like the pineapple.
So far from the irradiated air of its home, so far
from Hawaii. So new to the ugliness of here. For
months I refused the mail and the niceties of the blue
mail carriers and the thrill of the post office box,
because I knew I could have done a real good job.

Years later in the bank vestibule, again, I could feel
your love. In that airy room, humming, just filled
with ficus swag everywhere. No smell but rug and
glue. In likenesses to the country I am connected to
what connected me to you, that career of a future.

I had fun when collecting ground peaches fallen off
the juice scented trees with you, and fuzzed and thick
days alone and merciless hunting for wasps crawling
the sheer of attic curtains all summer while you worked
in the sun. I am now sorry for offending you. And I am
feeling like the state of the union under the rule
of one dreamy babe in the future. Everyone high.
Everyone lucky. Everyone remembering everything.
A woman calls the shots and everyone speaks in feelings.

In very sterile places I am touched by a phantom
limb of your goodness. A wide and strong reach,
stained polo texture. Was a combed nest around me.
Thin as paper, as fragile, and with room for everybody
to fit. Warm times, I was encouraged by closenesses.

The near image and proximity of my life to everyone
else’s life. Now towards something sweeter. My lover
waits for the postal service deliveries, eager, awake
like a holiday. Quit the grocery store job with hand
in pocket holding precious stone. By now most ghosts

have left me. I hate Colorado, but may you ski
a perfect ski today, may you be a real person now
in your brand new skin. Moving alone and with such
intention. You are nobody’s pet. You are swimming
through the natural snow in your brand new shell
that is just your size.
Marlan S. is an archivist and poet. Her work has appeared in Prelude and Flag + Void.

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