Elisa Gabbert & Kathleen Rooney



I remember what it felt like to be ashes.
Faint praise lashing at my face like hair.
The breathless burnt smell of December.
There, the kitchen where we kept our kitsch:
commemorative dishes with hairline fissures,

the velvet painting of Elvis (AKA the Velvis).
Awake all night in my trundle bed.

Waiting for the pigeon post, homing in.

The snow riding horseback on the wind

through tarot cards & unraked yards.

Dust-caked cars, stepped-on cracks,

glib one-liners & prairie schooners.

I eschewed acute angles, chewed my gum.

I held on tightly to the family gun.

A family portrait all done in angels,

mothers clutching their broken backs.

Figurines shattered like candy-coatings.

The plates on the wainscoting rattled.

That strange low cooing in the dovecote.
Radio on, falling out of my pajamas.

The sky like bad fruit, rotten & soft—

with the humming sound I wouldn't feel alone.
There, the glow beneath the pieplate UFO.
I wouldn't be dragged back out there.
Waves crashing, slightly out of phase.
I blew the world away like an eyelash.