Poems: Kara Lewis

Duplex (Ted Bundy Makes Breakfast) The ketchup bottle sputters in his hands like his lover’s throat. After filling her room with smoke, apologies bleed out in coffee and yolk. Mornings after we fight, you start to smoke again. You buy me coffee at a diner where the donuts decay in cages and the men look haunted enough to kill. Any man could kill you, I tell my friends before Tinder dates in dim-lit bars. The first time I met you in a bar, I sent a composite text to my friends: dark curls, birthmark above the eye. I’d recognize your textures in this life and the next. In all our lives, I would never turn you in for the glue-trapped mice in our kitchen. With my eyes glued to a mouse in our kitchen, my own cruelty scurries inside me. After you’re inside me, I confess I’d rather be dead than married. This is how I kill you. I kill you, then have breakfast with my friends, who list serial killers like ex-boyfriends. Ted married his wife on trial. I dreamt my neck raveled in rhinestone eyes from Richard. Unraveling my necklace, what I don’t say is that maybe all love should be illegal. All love bruises hands closing around our throats. We moan then sputter. Upon Seeing My Ovaries, I Buy a Succulent and my DNA dazzles in every fleshy follicle and each inflated leaf. I listen to it gurgle and bounce beneath a seatbelt sleeve. I bury its roots in a blue bedroom, play Beethoven’s eighth, and name it Nathan. At night, I never leave the window side, where our eyes both blink green into the moon. Where it breathes street light, leavening the sky. I sing headlines as nursery rhymes. Houseplants: The only thing millennials haven’t killed yet. Women with androgen excess find some relief left. Cries echo when I trim the cascading bangs from its peach-fuzzed face. The Internet insists to clip what withers and new leaves will flower, so I watch a mobile of roses crown its head and caption it #PlantMom. But then the buds cleave and fall. What does it mean to be monocarpic? Does a cell sense itself shriveling? Why does everything turn brown? I interleaved Google, the gynecologist, the group text, the soil expert at Lowe’s who saw me weep. I drowned it with love too unruly for the ground to believe.

Kara Lewis is a writer and editor who lives in Kansas City, Missouri. Her poems have appeared in Pithead Chapel, Stirring, Sprung Formal, Plainsongs, Boston Accent Lit, and elsewhere. She is a recipient of the John Mark Eberhart Memorial Award for a collection of poetry, as well as a weekly blogger for the Read Poetry site.

Photo by Orlova Maria on Unsplash

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