Post-Elegy at Borderline

Thousand Oaks, Calif.
November 8, 2018

It used to be
if we kept the door locked, he wouldn’t
come in and start fingering the goods.
If we kept the window shut, we wouldn’t
worry about what’s left to say to the woman
who birthed us. But now it’s getting cold
in Santa Barbara, and last night
I closed the window
only to find on the ledge this morning
black corpses of fruit flies. Tiny dots
with iridescent wings, all that’s left
of former lives. Death,
how indiscriminate he can be,
with his fly-like compound eyes. How he’ll
pursue anyone or anything
like a winter’s draft to bare feet. Overnight
he’ll stroll right in
to a country music nightclub,
unload a magazine to a Tim McGraw tune,
a dozen mowed down while sipping
their Coronas or ordering another round.
How fiercely maternal I can be. How
protective, yet utterly useless: a headless
doll, a grandmother in a coma, or just
American. Are you persona non grata? Is
mold making you sick? What about
the water? Are you on campus,
in a synagogue, a yoga studio, at home?
Forget prayers, the binding spell,
locks on the door. Phone your mother.
Say something, anything. Then
stand at the window, in the moonlight,
spreading your great big wings.

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