NINA PURO


 
 
ELEGY WITH YEARS MY JOB WAS TO NOT BE SEEN & LEAST FAVORITE WORD

afternoon makes
a yellow noise
like wax. wax sutures.
wax teeth.

tongue stuck
at the root. pitiful
coldsore.

watch dad claw
air around the pawn shop
moon hammered tin

kinfolk swallow
hard when they
hear. keep
humming
almond wind &
goiter the
afternoon away.

decade I slunk
out of supermarkets
with full bags.
smiled at the guard.

my american
teeth
glint just
for me.

white thick
enough to swallow.
unpack that.

I’m tired.
I’m so tired.
 
 
 
 
I’M NOT FOOLING ANYONE

I didn’t buy the expensive blouse, but I wanted it. I am not the kind of girl who gets to
buy linen. I stubbed out my cigarette & went inside. Someone passes the salt.
Someone talks about Milton but not his daughter. Someone’s selling their vacation
home. I wanted something. I got it. I dreaded something. I got it. The porch light
flicks on. I’m enjoying my summer very much. No, I didn’t go swimming today. When
I was 16 I starved myself so hard my eyes wouldn’t focus & as they dragged me across
the corridor my hands rictused. I live near Myrtle-Broadway. I’m sorry, I mumble. My
dad doesn’t remember anything. Sit upright, repeat the sentence. I dreamed Eileen
Myles brought me Burger King and inside was the Ruth Lilly. Tonight’s cake is carrot.
The tines are cold against my teeth. Someone’s upset because of a bad review in the
Times. He’s 24. I can’t stop doing this bad thing. Sometimes I think it’s part of a
bigger plan but maybe that plan is to fuck up beyond repair. Today, Sarah’s mom
picked up her ashes. This week, the acorns are falling faster. When I flush the
evidence, it feels like I’ve won. A screen door slams. A voice rich with cigarette glow
yells across a field. Their half-lit faces so fine-wrought I turn my face away, saddened.
Someone yells back as I walk down the steps. Caravaggio died of malaria waiting for a
rescue ship. Out of 31, one of us is not white. My fingers are warm against my teeth.
My left hand’s still stiff in rain.
 
 
 
 



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