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Hawthorne

 

HAWTHORNE

 

Evening already lowering itself
behind the cross-hatched boards of the fence,
camelias stippling the pebbled yard—bright clumps
of pink pressed between piles
of dog shit—& the voices of our neighbors who alternate
fighting & fucking
carry: my own pendulum
swings: gratitude/envy—I aim for part-time
happiness—the sun’s slippage—no one
on this street gets it all
to themselves—my slice of it slanting
through slats in a fence I am not responsible
for erecting. My choice comes down to whether
to leave parted
the curtains, the window jutting open to deep evening
sounds of dog bark & mellow:
someone’s getting some-
one else a drink at the bar across the street.
It’s not like I’ve never been hammered, throat
coated with want, not like
there was no time to choose
the myriad components that would make up
this life I now let myself go
into with the gentle hack of the fly-
swatter in summer, slack to the fuzzing sound
of the fan, the mesmerizing motion
of the paper lantern swinging
in the corner unlit. Room darkens. Blue
breeze, shifting
curtains, a hard laugh from somewhere unreachable-
close. I myself blue, the body’s whisper:
must we outgrow everything?

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This poem originally appeared in the ninth issue of (B)oink Magazine.