I Live Where the Leaves Are Pointed
at my head and my heart, knife-tips green
in a gasoline-doused garden. From the tire
store behind the house, leering mechanics
glaze my window with saliva. I sit at the end
of the couch and point my finger angrily,
wag it in the face of forever. I sit back on
my haunches and sniff the air. Please note:
the earth is no less sulfur than usual. It’s not
nothing I’m waiting for, not as if there’s no
reason I’ve done my hair at last. If I weren’t
waiting, why would I be so impatient?
I don’t drink whiskey to relax.
And there is someone I wouldn’t mind seeing
dead. But when I comb my hair and stay
up all night, it’s not as if I’m trying to meet
someone. The days can travel without me.
The landlord can mow the lawn in shifts,
his pink face an obscene balloon caught
by the noose of his collar—I’ll sleep through
the motor. And you can bet my dreams bloom
stranger than hallucination. I take my life
like this. Poems grow from my skull while
vines creep the tire store wall: slowly, certainly.
When they made soap, they had me in mind.
I Live Where the Leaves Are Pointed is reprinted from World’s Tallest Disaster (Sarabande, 2001); and Ploughshares, Spring 2000.
Poem, copyright © 2001 by Cate Marvin
Appearing on From the Fishouse with permission
Audio file, copyright © 2005, From the Fishouse