In a Diner at Great Sand Dunes Oasis, Colorado
The chalk taste of prescription pill
with too-sweet lemonade. I only take it
because you do, and I wonder
if you get high so you can tolerate me.
Through the window,
around bird feeders. The first time
I ever saw a hummingbird I was on your lap
in your parent’s backyard, your arms
wrapped around me while you packed
a bowl on my left thigh. I loved
how the bird pulsed through sunlight,
how its wings moved
so rapidly I could not see them,
an opal, darting on air
like a searching tongue.
could be all syrup and big teeth.
You told me hummingbirds
are the only birds
that stand still in mid-air
or fly backwards. Now, with two fingers,
I pick up a pen and doodle Oasis
in black ballpoint onto your arm.
You are uncertain.
The curtains on the diner window
are checkerboard yellow. Like large bugs
hummingbirds continue to swarm.
When the waitress arrives
with our dinner, we are silent
and dry-mouthed. I watch
as you slice chicken into pieces
and with each shriek of your knife
against ceramic plate I feel
the same tenderness in the way
you cut yourself away from me. If only
I could beat my wings and fly back to
when I was sticky with summer
and settled on your lap,
when I had no idea how much I envied
a hummingbird’s suspension
in air. Its ability
to be momentary, and full of nectar.
I took photographs of everything.
The living room. The empty shoebox. The wolf
who arrived & became my friend. The childhood
of broken plates. There were the protests from
the white picket fence, the Dead End sign
on the cul-de-sac
The telephone rang bright orange,
the plastic take-out containers
like little Greek ships in the dirty sink water. There were the nights I slept on my mother’s floor
& could feel the dark vibrating on
My mother’s reading glasses
blue around her neck & my brother
asleep in the basement.
We were like down
hanging side by side in the
front hall closet. At night,
a soft gauze of yellow light
over the windows of every house on our block, quiet &
lawns dressed in ermine fur.
In my bedroom, I peeled
Chloe Marisa Blog is a poet and educator from Huntington, New York. Her work has appeared online at Bad Pony Magazine, Shrew Literary Magazine, and Ragazine. She received the Alfred Ben Dixon Award for best honors thesis for her chapbook in 2016 while earning her BA in English and creative writing from Binghamton University. She is a recent graduate from New York University’s MFA program in poetry, where she taught creative writing. She loves wisteria plants & oyster shells.
Featured photo courtesy of Lucy Orloski.