Two Poems by Andi Myles

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Fully Known

Other universes seep through the cracks

in my walls and for a moment

my favorite color is no longer blue

but the orange of my kitchen walls,

they shiver, suddenly too beautiful

so I do not stay there. When I am

rinsing a chicken for dinner

I feel the skin slide over the newborn

bones I chose not to bear, hear it cawing

in my hands.

I am trying to find a universe

next to my own where the only difference is

an extra book on the shelf or

maybe some soup in the fridge.

Tiptoe down the halls

at night the moaning floors let in

too many possibilities

sliding my fingertips down her breasts, newspaper clippings

of success of tragedy of nothing notable, a bruised face,

small fingers touching my nose, a yapping dog, his lips

against mine begging, brushing long hair before a mirror—

darkly.

I am looking

for a slightly stronger version of

this stranger

I inhabit—it cannot be trusted, it has lived

so many lives.

The day I discovered I was not a hero 

“No, you don’t understand, I didn’t—”


Because I am wearing a mask,

and because it makes me feel like a superhero, sort of,


“I’m telling you—”


Because he leans into the passenger side—one leg lifted, one hand rigid,

and because there is no one else in the parking lot,


“Look at me. Look at me!”

Because he slams his hand down on the roof of the car,

and because my wrist resonates with his tone,


“All I want is—”


Because he is speaking Turkish and because

my 23-year-old stepdaughter is in the car, and because

I once watched a woman get slapped on the street in Istanbul

and because when I suggested we call the police,

my ex asked, “Why?”


I got out of the car.

But


“Fuck it! This is all fucking—”


Because it is easy to buy guns in Virginia,

and because you never can tell with men,


“You don’t understand—”


Because my one-year-old is in the car,

and because I know anger is ever only delayed,

I do not say to him, “Coward.”

I do not ask her, “Safe?”

Instead, I stand behind my car door

until his friendly, charming smile turns snarl

when my mask does not smile back.


“Do we have a problem?”

Andi Myles is a Washington DC area science writer by day, poet in the in between times. Her favorite space is the fine line between essay and poetry. Her work has appeared in Longleaf Review, Tahoma Literary Review, and Brink Literary Journal, among others. You can find her at http://www.andimyles.com.

Image: © Vyacheslav Argenberg / http://www.vascoplanet.com/, CC BY 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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