The subconscious sometimes run by God’s adjuncts, sometimes by that guy with sleeves at the coffee
shop’s corner table scribbling notes you can’t see in a way some call furiously.
I descended the stairs and saw a monster.
And when I looked up, a shepherdess crook affixed to the ceiling, dappled in blood. Cue the ominous scale.
Her prop stood in for her: a part for the whole, her symbol. Probably more metaphor
but who doesn’t like the word synecdoche? Who?
The monster had no prop, was a prop, a symbol of what might scare you, like being alone.
It was time to wake up and I did because every citizen of the dream had done their job,
performed with verve, clocked out, and left my waking self to cower
in a bedroom in the northwest section of Detroit in the late 60s.
When the monster and hook lost their potency, a hand beneath the bed
replaced them, a horse
galloping away with me gripping its mane and finally, a siege and quiver
of small yearnings that would leave me on waking, wanting, or
not leave me at all.
May It Please the Court
No two consecutive consonants create words with every vowel. I found this flaw while driving a therapeutic toll-road that threatened the environs of the Cali gnatcatcher, bird with an obvious purpose. The sign said Fog Possible Ahead and I was not disappointed the way God keeps disappointing me though I keep this in a thought behind a thought where it’s hard to see. There was fog, not the high-beam, crawl-the-road kind but a healthy mist and one good hill that, were it the end of the flat planet, we would not have seen our demise coming. Fog, in my addled cerebellum, went fig and I searched for the others then ran through every consonant and those proximal. It only two took exits on this newly constructed artery and now I wonder where I was going before the morning’s reveal as you may wonder where I am going with this. Lord of Lexicon, the English alphabet is poorly ordered. For your consideration: place b and g next to each other resulting in bag beg big bog bug, five words solid as the rocks flipped over in the ocean that we now stand on, admiring the view. Five words that do their own work with no connection. I leave the rest to the linguists. Their kind made this mess at Babel. The English speaker coined “confounded” and spoke with such authority, no one said, what’s up with the two vowels? Why is one just along for the ride? Now we pay for this recklessness with letters that do not get along with neighbors. If they cannot, why should we? I pull over to wait for clarity.
Shirley at 94
The morning gave me a free carwash with a coupon for one of those bandaged clouds
that temper the light and my daughter’s hair is a fountain.
I took the Boba straw – I always take the wrong straw. This one with greater capacity
than this beverage needs. My needs often above average, though no better than yours.
I cannot defend the divine. I cannot divine the defensible
but I can divide by two and know a prime number when I see one.
It’s an even-number year, ma and you would be even-numbered.
This is a strange habit, thinking how old you would be.
The conditional a sorrowful tense along with the pluperfect.
The Latin perfect is something that occurred in the past. The pluperfect combines
past tense with the perfect. You and I far from perfect, ma. Often tense: we had not
figured out what counted. A very small girl with very big sunglasses
draws water from a ceramic tank that looks like a map of uncharted terrain.
She is pre-regret, owning no past tense. I now pull my hair back
from my face, as you had wanted.
-- Patty Seyburn has published five collections of poems: Threshold Delivery (Finishing Line Press, 2019); Perfecta (What Books Press, Glass Table Collective, 2014); Hilarity, (New Issues Press, 2009), Mechanical Cluster (Ohio State University Press, 2002), and Diasporadic (Helicon Nine Editions, 1998). She is a professor at California State University, Long Beach.