Ten Poems April

i’ll get better.

1:
Sandpaper and jell-o.
Me, who’s usually the robot, in this case, is the jell-o.
And the, I’m sure nice to everyone else, in this case is the sandpaper.
He took another woman to a wedding.
He told me this as we were sitting down to drinks at the same place we always went to, the same place he never tipped enough. He told me as an aside.
It was a test, the meeting, to see if we could be friends, he said.
Not even more than that. Just if we could work as friends.
Me, I ended it over text, it had been enough. I had been hurt enough.
And he said with exclamation points and bad grammar how nice it was of me to spend so much time with him.
I’m cherry jello smoothed on high grit sandpaper. I’m just smashed to pieces.

2:
I’m trying to try on clothes as fast as I can in a pulled-closed, thick-curtained, wheelchair-accessible, overly-bright, closet last Sunday while my sister waits outside. Wondering why I hate this so much. When they don’t have your size and you feel too big for the room.
I remember why I hate shopping for new clothes.
We had to buy new clothes, she wanted us to buy new things,
They had to fit,
But hurry up the store clothes in 15 minutes and your sister already tried on her things.
When we spent too much checking out, she would go silent, fast-fidgeting hands, and say it’s fine. Then not talk to you the whole way home while she rationalized how much she spent out loud as we drove back from the cash register where our coupons were expired and she argued with them.
She would tell me over and over again how I was still pretty even though I gained weight. And didn’t I know she gained so much weight in high school she ran out of sizes in the stores. She was fat before anyone else was fat.
And it looks like you’ve lost weight recently.
You should buy that, you know, it looks good on you. If you don’t buy it, you’ll regret it later, you should get it if it makes you happy.

3:
I am mad at the god I don’t believe in anymore because he’s taking away her hands and her music.
My choir director, the director of the choir I don’t want to be in, with gray hair, and a purse with keyboard keys and music notes.
She’s had too many strokes, and she can’t play anymore. I watch her week by week lose a few more notes, forget a key change, and slip in a scale.
And I’m mad at her god. I’m mad at her god for her.
My sister tells me that parents will force their kids into the best schools, which makes the whole community suffer, because the wealthy parents take their resources away from everyone else in the local public schools.
I’m sure it’s time that someone else should take over, I’m sure Carol’s time is up, she’s had her turn.
But for her, I want to bend the rules. I want my kid to go to the best school out of district, because I know her, so she should matter more.
She should get to keep her music.

4:
I talk to my mother on the phone,
Who feels like a failure if she can’t cheer me up.
I’m sorry I couldn’t make it better.
Sometimes I should just listen and not say anything.
But she never does.

5:
He said he’s looking for someone to love.
This is the boy I’ve been spending time with,
Who doesn’t want to date me, but hang out,
The one who conveniently forgot to tell me he had kids,
The same one who told me he’s not looking for anything serious,
Just bought the love languages book for $5 from his friend because he saw it in his bathroom.
I told him he’s scaring me.

6:
My dad went to vegas on a helicopter tour,
He told me he wants to go on a blimp, that’s the only other aerial transportation he would like to take before he dies.
I keep thinking in my head, they don’t do blimps anymore.
Maybe I can commission goodyear when he dies.
I think that’s hilarious. I think he would think that’s hilarious.

7:
A woman screamed on the bus.
Hunched over with a man above her saying he just needed to get her home everything would be fine.
She screamed for four stops.
They got off, and the bus driver pulled over,
And yelled at her radio operator that she called emergency and no one answered.
I still wonder about that woman.
Drugs? Was she really just needing to get home? Was it something worse? Should I have done a damn thing other than stare?
But her scream and the seat she sat in are chilling in my memory.

8:
I went to Cuba.
And I took their culture back.
I took their rum, cigars, and small souvenirs made in Panama.
I held onto the colors they let us see.
I have a piece now I get to hold over everyone else who hasn’t been to Cuba.

9:
I should just say,
You’ll do.
I won’t find someone who’s my everything.
But you’re not going to hurt me, and I am able to reproduce in a stable environment.
Romantic love is for nothing anyway.
Marry someone from the business school, actually afford property in this city.
I told this to my friend who said and I quote,
“Meh you don’t want that.”

10:
She finally died, my grandmother who wouldn’t die.
I kept saying to myself,
Well she’s never died before.
I don’t know what to do.
What do I tell my mother,
Who wants to give out goody bags at the funeral?
50 lbs of chocolate-covered gummy bears.
And bingo bucks,
Wrapped in ribbons in the church narthex on the table with the photo albums.
The grief never came.
She didn’t die herself. She died as what was left. After her brain scans were empty and her children’s names were gone.
I managed the grief of my mother. Who wanted her alive longer at 90 years old.
We took the funeral flowers with us back home.

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