The house was too large for a widow
so we pulled it out from under her
before she could protest
or understand just how complicated
her attachment may be to five bedrooms
filled with dead men's clothes,
quiet resolutions, dust motes.
When we emptied it out,
secrets kept showing up in strange places.
Dirty spoons in a dresser drawer,
bullets under the mattress, dried blood
on the outside of a second story window.
No one wanted to know these things,
no one wanted to dig deeper.
I was surprised to find the widow
was sleeping in my abandoned bed,
under a glossy poster of Eminem,
next to a nightstand filled with rows
of foil wrapped condoms, all long expired.
Like she was reliving her youth, or maybe
she just needed these constant reminders
when she questioned her loneliness.
Shit, I sigh halfheartedly,
pulling photographs from a shoebox,
There's nowhere to go
with all this stuff. It's all stained
nicotine yellow and reeks of the grave.
I fill little more than my pockets,
leave the rest for her to scavenge
like a raven pulling shiny buttons
from the coat of a corpse.
My home is bare, I have no trouble
throwing anything away.
The kid's preschool art, old news
and still wrapped presents never given.
When I die, my life will be represented
by little more than the essentials.
Here lived a human. She ate, she breathed,
slept the required minimum, never
gave anyone no problems.
Juice WRLD 2019
a backseat of bad luck teens
a long ride to philly on a school night
we set them free on the lawn
and huddle in the parent’s pavilion
bored, stoned on cell phones
while our boys crowd the strobed
starry eyed fame of a world-worn spirit
reciting poetry like times tables
to chalk boards, blacktop and
board games burning to ashes
under the neon crush of so many
immaculate sneakers, so young
but already falling away from us
and didn’t you know how that felt
years ago? cobain and hendrix
in your headphones, beyond the veil
and still stringing the kids of the future
into the wide-eyed idolatry
of self-annihilation? couldn’t you almost
taste it, summer and stardust,
the swift cold rush of interstellar
blackness where ghosts roam
as it rose up to meet you?
Erin Cisney is a poet from Lancaster, PA who’s work has appeared in such places as Spry Literary Journal, rust & moth, and Déraciné, among others. Her poetry collection, Anatomy Museum, is available from Unsolicited Press. Twitter: @erin_cisney