you wake to the woodpecker,
an empty milk carton,
and no clean socks
Excitement and Purpose eloped
and you can't find an address to reach them.
the killdeer guards its nest, the garden hose
frowns over its hook in the yard.
you work like the woodpecker’s beak,
incessantly and with nothing to show for it
yesterday the bank called
and you told them they had the wrong number.
the day before you spotted your sister at the park
but kept walking,
and between your footsteps,
you asked Siri questions
just to hear a voice answer you
Siri tell me who I am
to which she said error, error, error
and you were satisfied.
you took the sign from your neighbors lawn
and ate meatloaf on it, sitting in their yard beside the fence,
ketchup and grease smeared over the American Dream.
you knew it was ironic because you studied irony in school.
you laughed and then noticed you were laughing so you stopped.
the voice in your head has turned automated,
its responses predictable and apathetic.
Life calls and you tell it to leave a message after the laughter,
Life hangs up because it knows better.
the sky sings in a purple tune, you count the cars
that pass your window
until one hits the killdeer.
you walk to her nest
throw an egg as high as you can,
it hangs, then plummets,
before splatting onto the tar.
love does not want this body
so I leave her and bring it to you
forgive me, what is your name again?
fall-back-girl you kissed once in a summer meadow
and I remember, your purple dress shaming the tulip’s color
mallards pulling beetles from the dirt
the memory of my failed-love
as far as the threat of winter.
yeah, it’s me again
loveless as the doe
whose buck I shot last spring.
forgive me, for I’ve already bit into your giving heart
blood like licorice down my chin
let-down-boy with stomach gorged on your false promise
and the guilt comes, it does
when you reach for my hand
and I pretend to scratch my beard.
tell me the truth
when you’re sleeping I whisper
apologies like prayers into the dark
but in the morning I thank you for the oatmeal
steal another kiss before the bus comes
blame the wind as to why I didn’t hear you ask
will you stay this time?
For the First Time in Twelve Years, I Draw a Bath
hold my legs to my chest, flatten my cheek against my bony kneecap.
the tub can’t figure out how to house me,
waterline barely reaching the tops of my shins,
but I let warmth envelop me, for once.
the last three nights I got high and cried until I couldn’t.
she’s been gone four years, ample time to make amends
to frame the obituary, tattoo her handwriting on my arm,
and I have, I’ve done and done and everything else too
grieved the ‘right’ way and the ‘strong’ way and I’m still here.
why won’t the well dry?
bathwater through my hair, soap the stench of cheap barbeque off my arms
no candles. no music. the drain groans for a good meal.
a season of stillness, what happens when the mind
has time to catch its breath:
there she is, white streak in her hair, forty-three and laughing.
and I am crying, again. disturbing the placid water with salt,
watching everything drain but the grief.
Bio: Nick Stanovick is a graduate of Temple University, a Babel Poetry Collective alumni, and an International Poetry Slam Champion. His poems have appeared in Spillway, Vinyl, Public Pool, Rising Phoenix Review, Drunk In a Midnight Choir, and SickLit Magazine among others. He’s currently a Masters candidate at Auburn University, where he studies Composition and Rhetoric and eats many grilled cheese sandwiches.
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