Study of Beet and Earring

p
o
e
m
s

Vegetable fuchsia but faded, gilt

gone bad from its season in Hell. Plucked up

with dirt on its cheek, petrified

as a rose shut in a box and dull as a brain

left too long in one place.

Sedate glamour on the counter, unhinged

from my skin: golden chime, faintly Egyptian.

Truth is, I’ve been walking, figuring the ladder

of how each year fastened together.

The boy slept with in a single bed, a single

embrace, was one:

sexless, lust-filled, lonely as the taproot

on the table, strange as the earring

found in a thrift store, gold plate already flaking,

atoms of it anointing the straw chair

and spider plant, its babies beginning to crawl.

I went crazy, sought out the lunatics,

drove to the bar and pried open the door,

the men inside gesturing Come in,

wanting a woman. Passed the pit bull

tied to the porch of my neighbor who’s faking

paralysis for insurance, photographers creeping

in the weeds to catch him walking.

His gram smoked her pipe and swung

on a swing where his dog now barks,

ruthlessly. She grew me beets and other gifts,

then the world ordered Weep, and I wept.

Paula Bohince’s third collection, Swallows and Waves, was published by Sarabande in 2016.

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