DREAM AFTER THREE DIVORCES
When I awoke, bound to the bed, fingernails
tattooed, the one on my left ring finger read
Your heart is still 14, but here we go again.
The one on my middle right finger said No.
Even if I ripped the nails from their own beds,
rose up to go, ink underneath would betray, skin
now a collection of seared black monogrammed
brands, new name separating me from Daddy
but destined to repeat, a white dress for better
inspection, packaged as another’s grade A meat.
THE FISH SWIMMING IN MY COFFEE
Refuses to come up out of the dark grounds
of birth. It’s built a caffeinated castle, a drawbridge
that stays up. My lips? An artificial moat stocked
with threatening reptiles who want to taste
every second wriggling down my throat, swallow
flashing scales of possibility, not let them get away.
I don’t want life dead, beheaded, laid out in strips
in an oily can. The plan was to jump on the horse
of morning and ride at a gallop in the direction of away,
not stay on the couch, frowning into this mug with
telltale bubbles. Where are my edible carnations,
sugar daisies, birthday cakes? How did I get to this
age? I don’t want to grow up to do the same task
every day. I want a fluid plan, a sea, current to swirl me
into incomprehensibility, gasping, spitting salt. At least
if you asked me what came next, I wouldn’t know, and
that wouldn’t be my fault. That’s the nature of water,
it wears out every period of a simple sentence when
you aren’t paying attention, drips, rushes, leaves nothing
dry. I have a hard time giving up control, forget
that that’s why fish don’t need to cry.
ENVYING THE WORLD WHILE MAKING CIRCLES
I can’t relax. More accurately,
I can’t remember how without being talked down
or touched. If you’re reading this, you’re breathing;
nothing clutches as heaven and nature sing
effortlessly. The ants beneath aren’t heavy, weighed
down by responsibility. Their colors, fire and ink,
don’t make them think, keep them hitching breath
in every dream, clenching teeth. Pendulous clusters
of nuts aren’t anxious, though slow ripening
makes them look fat. They rustle, maracas in easy
breeze. Even crows make calls of black calligraphy,
natural patterns. Mine’s a rut carved into concrete
by my mind. Trained to repeat.
Kasandra Larsen’s chapbook STELLAR TELEGRAM won the 2009 Sheltering Pines Press Chapbook Competition; one of three winners of the Third Wednesday 2011 Poetry Contest judged by Philip Dacey. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Best of the Net Award, and was a Finalist in the Tiferet 2010 Sacred Poetry Contest judged by Marie Howe. Her work has appeared in journals in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., including: Ballard Street Poetry Journal, Bloodroot Literary Magazine, Blue Earth Review, Breakwater Review, Denver Syntax, Full of Crow, The Nervous Breakdown, The November 3rd Club, nthposition, Osprey Journal, Poems-for-All, Poetic Diversity, Pure Francis, Roanoke Review, Short Fuse: The Global Anthology of New Fusion Poetry, SLAB, tinfoildresses, Two Hawks Quarterly, The Watermark, and White Pelican Review.