2 by Joey Nicoletti
5 AM. Snowflakes spit out of clouds
like slot machine coins. My dog
scratches my leg;
he wants to go
to his favorite patch of grass
and roll on his back;
mindless of the sleet;
the insipid hissing of geese
next door. The water park
Ferris Wheel creaks the syllables
of my old flame’s name
in the distance.
Fire hydrants bite their tongues.
We reach the spot. He tastes
a windblown leaf, crunchy with frost,
then squats behind his leafless tree.
I have only been here for three months,
but my soul feels as bare as his oak;
these hotels for ice
to unpack their bags
and stay a while. In this wintry place
my nomadic heart has made. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Death Star Blues
August haze comes
on short dog feet.
It stands with me looking
over the skyline of clothes lines
from the deck of my Cousin Bobby’s pool.
An ambulance siren wails
abruptly. I slip, and then fall
into the deep end. I see floral
patterns, blurry on the bottom; a ladder rung
out of my reach, like stars on the ceiling
of the drive-in theatre where I saw the back
of Darth Vader’s head without his mask
the previous night. My father’s callused
hands grip my bony wrist.
Galaxies of goose pimples bloom
on the skies of my arms
as he pulls me out. Then he wraps me
in a mocha-brown beach towel:
I taste the splashed water of his concerns,
sour with chlorine, and apologize
for scaring him; for diverting
my mother’s attention
from his thin lips, curved
in a sneer. When I finish
asking for forgiveness, I fall asleep
in a lawn chair; watching smoke
from Bobby’s cigarette drift
like a wraith around the bug lamp;
the Death Star of his back yard,
killing flies and mosquitoes at will;
steam rising from the pool. An hour later
my father gently wakes me up
by rubbing my hair
and smiling. He carries me
into the back seat
of the burgundy hatchback, my skin
bathed in the car’s musty cologne.
The summer breeze wheezes
around me, the L-train of my thoughts
rattling through tracks of new sunlight.