Coughin

We drove up to Eagle Rock
mid afternoon, the music boomed.
Both of us wore new sunglasses,
taking in the windshield sun flare.

Let’s begin.
My brother might have said.
Then the sunroof cracked open,
a rhinoceros roar.
What does that even sound like?
I don’t know, ask the rhinoceros.
That’s something he’d say.

The head of a highway animation
crawls forward. With a start
I almost forget to breathe. Did you
know how to do it before,
even?
Did you?
Can’t we pretend we are civilized?
I can say please and thank you.
I can play house.
I can count to ten,
and you too.

We both know the fork goes on the left
the knife on the right,
right?
Right on top of a napkin,
the spoon there too for soup.
It’s proper to have more than one course.

I’m also better at moon tricks, you should know.
It’s the poem that surpasses me,
the rusty wallet hatch mind we’re following.
On this particular planet,
no room for typo corrections,
no room for stretching, resurrecting,
though it would be nice to construct comfort.
This home could use a guest room.

Thoughts tumble dry.
Apple core is a myth.
You’re supposed to eat the whole thing.
but by the time I’ve reached the concave kernel,
I’m bored.
I give the rest to the guinea pig.

Can’t swallow through
the tough-skinned pineapple throat,
mixture of monopoly and not wanting to be
here in this room.

Mouth trapped,
mind folds backwards.
We need a clothespin along
the line in the backyard.
But we can’t fit the whole wash out there,
spread out like flakes of dry skin
bedraggled in the wind.

I want to be clean.
I want to be perfectly orderly,
but that’s just me.
I know most don’t mind a clutter. In fact
parents have to pay their kids to clean their bedrooms.
I can’t stand self-fried smorgasbord all over the desk and bed.
I don’t remember where I left the purple scarf.
What I was thinking of this morning before I forgot it?

The time bomb
over there?
I threw the grenade
but it rolls back. It keeps
rolling back.
I don’t want to die
I can’t handle that now. Not yet.
But it’s too late for that thinking.

Look at them remembering me.
It’s funny it should happen in the morning,
mourning.
Darling, I love the hairdo you forced me into,
in a stiff black dress looking up at the sky.
They positioned me that way.
I still want to see you all, though,
before they close the cover.
We could go for a walk.
This cemetery’s full of flowers.
Lift me up.
Let me leave this
stuffy wooden coffin,
​coughing.

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​Miriam is a Literati Fellow with Get Lit – Words Ignite.
Check out more about Get Lit HERE and ​read more about Miriam in Simon & Schuster’s Get Lit Rising, available for pre-order HERE!

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