Holding Pattern, Lifted

Kara Candito

No language but our own shabby

inventory — your childhood mattress,

2 chipped mugs, 4 pre-dawn sex acts.

No audience but the anorexic air

of Mexico City. Your neighbor

with the incontinent bulldog was there

on the landing. And the other,

the willowy hairdresser you must’ve

been fucking, was there on the stoop

appraising my bad bottle job.

Imposter queen becalmed in her

rented coronation barge, I flaunted

what we were like a liability.

Those scandalous four-inch sandals

tore a smile of blisters across my ankle

until I wanted to be carried home

past the construction on Condesa, to let

the jackhammer’s throes rattle my jaw.

Cones changed the flow of traffic.

Flight attendants took the newspapers

away before the plane landed.

If I’d known then, husband, that you’d fly

due north to find me gloveless in this

ordinary Midwest of hunting rifles and English,

I might’ve ambled through the loudest plazas

in earthquake weather, or kissed the hairdresser

with a mouthful of wax and sympathy.

I might’ve climbed to the rim of the black

volcano and offered the fear I nursed

like a chubby baby to the fire

that will swallow us all, eventually.

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