Elemeno

I told my mother,

“Don’t lay a finger on that light switch.

I can’t tell you why or how,

But the kitchen, their bathroom

Tub full of water, Alexis’ darling four-poster,

Will go into the basement.”

 

I wonder what Alexis screams like.

 

“All in one shattering motion,”

Don told me, a curl hung in his forehead

There was a twinkle in his eye,

A space in his teeth, toweringly tall,

And a girth vast enough for two.

 

I’m going to corrode his house on the hill

If I so much as touch the thing,

There’s no doubt about that-

 

“Hold on, darling…”

Mother’s eye twitches.

I sense one of her betraying laughs is nigh.

We’re sitting around the kitchen table,

A bowl of sludgy, abandoned oatmeal,

And a sort of spelling exercise.

 

The dull lead head makes a dent

In the soft wooden table, and I realize,

Not looking at her, the absurdity-

A suspension of furniture, appliances, dishes

All on a flat linoleum floor

Like the second level of a doll house

Taking to the graceless gravity.

 

Sometimes those notions

Need to shake hands with my vocal chords.

 

Here we are, printing the alphabet

The solid and cut lines are inky

The paper squeaks under the graphite

The attempt at cursive is laborious.

 

“Ay,” I dictated. “Bee. See.”

I proceeded to print the corresponding symbols,

My tongue sticking out, the pencil,

Awkward in my hand.

“Ay-che, eye, jay, kay…”

Pause. My eyes linger on the empty training line.

“Ma, what does an ‘elemeno’ look like?”

An elemeno. El-em-en-o.

 

Sometimes those notions

Need to shake hands with my vocal chords-

 

Then I can make sense of them.

The End

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