Jane Rahman CC
I saw her in that Trader Joe’s in Eagle Rock, eyes teared-shiny, one eye almost closed
into a yellow-green-blue cloud. She was holding asparagus, she was holding
three bottles of Two Buck Chuck, she was holding almond milk.
I was thinking about whiskey, about Glen Fiddich, and the actress from Amsterdam I met
on the Greek Island of Patras, after being rescued from a burning ferry.
And how she said, Glen Fiddich, my darling, never leave home without it.
As she pulled a bottle out of her suitcase.
The woman in Trader Joes looked like a cornered animal, her phone summoning a Pavlovian
response as she scrambled to answer, juggling groceries, voice rasping out a desperate plea,
No, really, o.k. alright, I’m leaving, I’m sorry, I’m on my way. She sounded sorry alright,
the kind of sorry that might paint the other eye the colors of the rainbow,
not the pretty ones. She dropped the wine bottle, and the yellow slopped the floor
like runaway piss. She put the asparagus in with the bath goods and set the almond milk
down gently, almost like a baby, next to the crumpets and muffins.
I wanted to tell her, Wait, your mask won’t protect you from this hurting thing.
She wore one, of course. A Happy Face. But if you saw her mauled eye,
you’d know her lips weren’t turned up.
I wanted to tell her there are better days ahead where you’ll go out and come home
unafraid, with so much more than you left with today. And these empty-handed flights
will be a distant memory as you skip towards roasted chicken, garlic asparagus,
warm almond milk and honey or Sleepytime tea and a shot of Glen Fiddich.
I’d tell her, you come back someday, we’ll sit safely unmasked by my warm fireplace
and your eyes will only be hazel.
Carla Sameth’s memoir, One Day on the Gold Line, was published July 2019. Her work appears in a variety of literary journals and anthologies including The Rumpus, MUTHA Magazine, Brain,Child, Narratively, Longreads, Brevity Blog, Entropy, Full Grown People, Angels Flight Literary West, Anti-Heroin Chic, Global Poemic, and The Nervous Breakdown. Carla’s essay, “Mother’s Day Triptych” was selected as a notable for the 2020 Best American Essays. A Pasadena Rose Poet, a Pride Poet with West Hollywood, and a former PEN in The Community Teaching Artist, Carla teaches creative writing to high school and university students, and to incarcerated youth. She has an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte (in Latin America). Her chapbook, What Is Left is forthcoming with Dancing Girl Press. https://carlasameth.com/
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