When I asked for a pencil, they gave me a rattle.
When I asked for a hammer, they gave me a kiss.
All mongrel, no matter, I’ll stay out past dinner;
I’ve stolen the answers to all of their tests.
I’ve given up sweets, their ridiculous shapes,
Their instructions on which ones have cherries.
Everything under the sun is lukewarm;
The poppies are blooming with worry.
When they gave me a map, I thought they were done,
I thought I could take off my dress.
They told me one town was as good as another;
Sent me packing, all fiddle, no case.
Each cul-de-sac greyed like a cooled blown bulb.
All dashboard, all driver, all sky & no cake,
Each neighborhood gatehouse, a live empty socket.
When they asked for my ticket, I gave them a wink.
The instructions all listed Step One as Repeat,
The poppies were planted in rows at the park.
I lived on a circle, then moved onto a square,
Then wandered back into the kitchen half-drunk.
The screen door, the scrim, the latch, the last word.
The glass throats of each vase open wide.
A house is the largest headstone we make;
We keep walking, grateful, inside.
Copyright © 2020 Amy Woolard
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.