three poems

by Alyssa Froehling on October 29, 2017

the animal shelter

you have the skinny dog haggardness of it
the gritty slicked slip of it
on the rain’s long skirts, with your sewn on black shoes
the choke chain tree of it has settled, embedded
     in the hill’s neck, where you are, where it is

somewhere there is an electrified pool outlet,
a little winter weather’s jealousy next to a diver’s kit
and you are sitting on the edge practicing bowing your head to your knees
biting coins to give your breath some value once you finally gather the courage to drop everything you own and leave, you are
practicing ducking from bullets whistling “you are my sunshine” in the breeze

you understand this, i don’t, you do

you’ve made plans:
when the rust dissolves the bike lock, you are going to run
because right now you have the floating, struggling openness of it
the backyard manmade lake lyme disease of it, from
where you are, where it is

you don’t know how alone you look, how tired you are
barking in your sleep while everyone else howls abysmal holes to the sky
reflected back into their faces,
they have the pockmarked fullness of it
they are the full bird theatre of it, night feather shakes and earthquakes,
glassy awake eyes in glass sockets
necks perched on swivel chairs

you are the warm placidity
the sun rolling its muscles
through the unstitching navy yard 
through the window and into my cereal bowl

you understand this though, when i don’t

i cannot replace you and if i could my honesty would fly
like a set spring of a dismantled pen or
a gentleman’s hat freshly stolen by the wind
or anticipation of a stranger’s thrown fist
knocking on wood instead of the faux golden handle

you are silent, you make your bed inside of a beehive on a muted TV
it is always quiet where you are, where it is, when you’re wit

most kinds of cheese truly disgust me but you have the opposite effect

i don’t need the moon
as long as i have lights perched at intervals along the road
like white and yellow birds who believe they have found special metal trees
and are therefore too proud to leave

i don’t need the moon
as long as i have your distorted reflection looking at me
through the cracks in a broken and recently-
eager-esophagus-emptied-water glass

i don’t need to be over anything to love you
and i don’t have to make a fool of myself to prove it, like
leaping around in a field of sleeping cows while wearing a fishbowl on my head
pretending to be a lost astronaut to cope with it,

or something to that effect


what i mean to say, what i meant to say,
i mean
is that i’m happy you decided not to invite me
to that party you hosted when everyone was home
you’ve been saying life has never been so good lately
so i imagine him looking at you like you are happy
not the emotion, but a physical thing he can pick up
and pocket and carry with him,
i mean, i don’t know
maybe you are a nightlight or the last battery left
in      the kitchen drawer, maybe you are the color yellow
not like jaundice but sleepy sun stillness

oh and speaking of illness i’m still mental
because i think about vomiting at least twice a day
and it makes me want to die
i live with tomato soup in my throat
and i can feel it boiling     on the back of my tongue
when i sleep
when i lay on my side

let me tell you, my mind cooks up the perfect grilled cheese
to go with it
so thank you, for not inviting me, it would’ve been embarrassing
for everyone to see me cry and say the word regurgitation like a choke in my throat, thank you

i woke up six times last night
and the air kind of sounded like it was made of flies
they tell me it’s blood in my ears but i know
my plasma is mixed with crumbs and     the daily meal’s chunks

anyway, it kind of reminded me
of how he thought love was the way     bugs crawl over fruit
all tongues all touch
how he thought maybe it was the way
the wind filled up plastic bags and carried them for a little while down the road
before sticking them to some slimier bit of pavement
or maybe a flood prevention drainage vent

i feel best when i’m not looked at
i wish no one could see me
i wish i didn’t have a body

Alyssa Froehling is a writer from Palatine, Illinois. She graduated from Augustana College with majors in English and Creative Writing, and a minor in Women & Gender Studies. She was editor-in-chief of Augustana College's art & literary magazine, SAGA. She is an editorial staff member at Floodmark Poetry, a website designed to inspire and motivate new writers. Her interests include running in place, pugs, winged eyeliner, dressing like a 36-year-old lumberjack, folk-punk bands, and eating too much fruit. Her poems have appeared in The Seldom Review, NEATMag, everything is mostly water (now Alien Mouth) and Drake University's Periphery.
three poems - October 29, 2017 -