On I-75 someplace flat
Miami and Tampa
(the alligators snake through swampgrass
the fields wheat or water
the highway might collapse&consume me)
This car is a sea-scrap shell—I’m a hermit crab
growing monstrous in an artificial womb.
The storm broke up
Cuba and Miami when it hit
Hollywood scattered splotches
foaming skies on I-95
Things fell apart slowly. I knew my luck was going when I began losing at the card tables. It was a small shift. I’d been on a streak while I stayed in New Orleans. Every third or fourth day, I walked to Harrah’s. All I knew how to play was blackjack, and I didn’t know if it was a winner’s game or not. I’d heard that if you played the odds at craps, you could ensure a slow and steady income. But that’s not what I did. I followed the generally suggested rules of play, took chances when compelled to, and left the casino with two, three hundred dollars each visit. It wasn’t high stakes, but I’d known what it felt like to be a winner. After my streak turned, I walked out of the casino two, three hundred dollars poorer twice a week, and I knew things had shifted. I was no longer in the good graces of whatever spirits I’d appointed to guide me.
Last Halloween you splattered fake blood all over a sexy nurse costume and went as “Malpractice.” Your boyfriend didn’t think it was funny, but he doesn’t think anything is funny. He’s in his last year of college, studying psychology. You don’t understand how you can study feelings. You like to imagine him recording the salt concentration of tears. Your mother always tells you he’s the smartest man you’ll ever get.
He asked you why you couldn’t just be a regular sexy nurse, why you could never just be sincere. Continue reading