A GIRL AND HER EGG
I was already blindfolded, a walking diary—
distracted, stuck, inspirited and on top of them, him
and her and, ici, les personnes. Yet I steadied my
forearms, and the black rabbit composed a path
from arbor vitae to awning.
Gold morning. Or yellow lights on an old truck,
buying everyone’s new springtime.
“The desire, if it’s kept alive, will often be validated
with an idea,” he whispered in my mouth. Two
obsessional seconds he held me under water. Mr.
Grey-Cat cinched the sash and scoured the skillet
and set the droplets skittling. I bled my eye.
The kisses I’ll remember: Molten. Picante. Set
white on uova in purgatorio. Bullseye yolk smeared
on bit lip. Misophonia, stolen from nest.
“Get sleep and a little bit of food,” he said. Such a
senator! He put me in the lilac fridge, no towel, one
slipper. I was his heaven or utterly confused, still
learning to speak.
HIDE THE HOUSE IN THE HOUSE
Cannonade of dresser drawers, shut, shut, shut,
shut. Meet the Amá of Adjectives. O, calm, o canary
horse, canary horse sing, sing-a-sing-sing to pretty
boy’s ears, dimple small as a tear.
Puzzle piece tipped with Paris green. Wool blanket
pulled to burning eyes. Bottomless cellar, sortie,
kiss. Their son versus their sleep? Their son’s ears
A game: study seventeen loud semesters and scatter
the card catalog. Add twenty-six inches and
fourteen-point-one-five pounds. Crinkle the summer
plaid swimsuits. Row the hot dogs, ketchup a moat.
What could they let go?
Whaling Wife, _______ Fife. The bruise provides a
secret room, very _________ and quite ________.
Sure as her semaphoring breasts, he is content. A
puzzle piece slitting the shrink wrap. Mr. You Only
Want to Judge. Mr. You Hate Other People. Mr.
Son Latched to Canary. Fix it. Go on. Weak seal on
the fridge, freezer of granivorous beaks.
JOANNA NOVAK's debut memoir, Contradiction Days, will be published in 2023. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, and elsewhere.