8.01 / January 2013

Two Poems

I THINK THEY KILLED MATTHEW FIELDS

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It was when the neighborhood cats followed me home that I knew   Suspicious oven drippings   Even the abandoned patio furniture is dark and gummy   I think the glow-in-the-dark stars on my ceiling is code   Besides too many hairs sugar the bathtub   I think they killed Matthew Fields and he’s still here   In my home there are no shallow mounds but there is coal dust and deck planks to die under   Once the intercom shuffled where is Matthew Fields   His brother didn’t know he moved but he never rings again and neither does the post office the post office is confused so I keep his mail in a shoebox   I write letters to the landlord to the local sheriff to the cable company   The landlord: they run with dogs notorious for consuming only as many calories as they expect to burn   They leave clean bowls behind and cabinets painted shut   The sheriff calls personally to say centipedes move 20 inches per second and are known to tamper with evidence   The cable company sends a stock letter addressed to Matthew Fields so now I sit too close to the TV


I AM TRYING TO WRITE DISCREETLY ON THIS TRAY TABLE

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The man in front of me is working with a broken seat because it reclines much farther than the rest   It hit my face as I was fishing a Xanax from the seat pocket in front of me   Why I don’t know   My bag is vertical in the overhead compartment   I didn’t loiter by the gate before my number was called   I hardly scowl at first class (aside from the shrimp cocktail incident in January)   I follow all the rules   The in-flight movie is in the aisle and I can just catch its dog ear   Something or other starring a benign George Clooney in a fucking Hawaiian shirt of all things   Who chooses these   Who designs planes   The schematics   Who builds them   I am trying to write discreetly here   I am trying to Indian style but the fabric doesn’t friction well with my flip-flops   Apparently I have a working seat because I am uncomfortable   I’ve already got the window so I can’t bare feet that’s rude   I’m also not leaving the guy next to me much room for elbows or chatting   I just don’t want to small talk about my cross-country house hunting and I’ve never been a decent liar   I felt him read the Newsweek over my shoulder and wondered was it the banks in Spain or the electric typeface of the advert on the opposite page   I just don’t want him to take the liberty   I know better since last month and the man who sucked in his teeth at my long distance relationship and stirred me for the snack cart like I must have the overpriced olives   The water vapor from my electronic cigarette might cause a riot but I won’t make it to the bathroom because earlier when taking my seat both men in my aisle joked I better not have to pee but they weren’t kidding really   This is the first flight in awhile I haven’t been drunk   It might be the half watered ice   It might be the last time my lover picked me up from LAX and said I reek like vodka   I actually hate when people say my lover that way   I didn’t know vodka reeked like anything   They don’t come around nearly as much to collect garbage and I don’t know what to do with my cream cracker bits and empty plastic cup   I’m not pressing that button though   I’m counting the germs on the complimentary headset   They’re collecting on my neck pillow as we speak   I don’t like borrowed or borrowing so the window shade will stay shut the whole time   There’s too much natural light this high up   This in-between isn’t pleasant for anybody   There aren’t enough sidewalks in LA   The last house we saw was white Christmas lights and shade trees but it’s a 20 minute drive on a canyon road to get anywhere realistic   That kind of novelty never lasts


Tara Boswell is a New Jersey native currently pursuing her MFA in Poetry at Columbia College Chicago, where she teaches first year writing, and serves as an editor for Columbia Poetry Review. She is also an editorial intern for Phantom Limb Press. She wears many hats.
8.01 / January 2013

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