Courtside Tickets

What stands between your words and my actions,
is a barrel of government contractors, an asterisk
along the ankles, a four-letter word for treason.
I am at this very point two sides stapled together
and presented lengthwise; a catapult of shame
and a horse in need of re-shoeing.

There is a precipice of pupil and promise,
a red velvet rope at the local theater, designed
to simultaneously keep out and in what percolates
through and permeates this very layer of decorum.

Having observed your role from the streets
through open windows, I set free my autopsy
of allegiance, a bridge so close my feet stumble
over it as if in lightness—an angel or something
less arcane.

Dear mother, I have stood before you and recognized
my role in this transaction. I am the rabbit, always late,
and you, dear queen, a slip of paper sporting spade or heart,
forever spilling sprinkles over a stand of mushrooms.

The caterpillar in the next chapter alternates puffs of smoke
from a half-brass hookah, and thumbs through the small print
of the local phonebook for your name and address.

All things being equal, a church bell rings and your head
decides there’s nothing left to do but roll.

This poem appeared in The Ocotillo Review, July 2020.

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