Spark & Ash
it was the fourth of july and i
went to go buy fireworks with my family.
we drove out of the county and
into the next, where they were legal--
the store was a warehouse, right off the
interstate, flashing sequined signs
and throngs of people
all lined up to purchase bombs
with clever names like
the black cat
the china garden
the cherry popper
across the parkinglot was an motel--
closed-- because who wants to stay
the night next door to a powder keg?
so they demolished it. halfway.
one wall was knocked away and i
could see inside the rooms, sliced
away-- sagitally or migsagitally,
i forget. beds and pale striped wallpaper
and hideous generic prints repeated
with startling precision in every room,
straggling wires and jagged concrete.
like it was some half-eaten dessert for some
reclusive and particular giant--
and it crumbled all around itself,
heaping piles of dusty gray rocks.
it looked like a dollhouse.
it looked like kosovo.
of filibuster and pidgeonhole,
i prefer the former
as a means to obfuscate issues--
at least amongst the options
i was afforded in my government class
in the ninth grade,
back when i wasn't sure of anything.
or sure of things in a way i can
hardly grasp now, which i brush off as
naievete-- though my fifteen year old
self would resent me terribly if i was
someone else in my life at the time
and told me i was--
no, i can't say it.
(because i am imagining those words
being spoken to me-- you're just naieve,
you're just young, is all-- by some
terribly tragically gorgeous boy
all of seventeen, perhaps, and shorter than me--
because they always were--
with fine brown hair that hung just below his
eyebrows which sat just above his
and i imagine hating that boy, because i
but i think now, perhaps they were always
myself, come back from having never happened yet--
sent to break my silent heart and keep me
waiting with my hands wrung into oblivion
til i learned all the lessons i taught myself)
as a practical means of
delaying a vote, filibuster gets mine.
but i cannot avoid the image
of pidgeonholing-- that physical placement
of that pariah of any sorts,
curled up on itself and tucked
into its proper nook in some
large congressional desk--
and eternal protector of forgotten
hearts and lies.
now i live in a narrow room
with a window
on the top floor.
i think of my kosovo dollhouse at night
when i am laying on my stomach with
my pillow under my chin
peering through the slats of my bed--
out into the streetlamp lit night
through the window through the blinds
that i can leave open because
only the trees can see this high.
i am eye level with them,
and they are black between
orange street lamp and blue sky.
i imagine that these cinderblocks and
bricks and wire are gone--
that i am facing the night,
curled up on myself
(like a patient etherized upon a table),
and tucked safely
away from a world of
gleeful pink bursts of spark and ash.