Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2016  Vol. 15 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Sally Isn’t Doing Well

I’m tired of sunrises and sunglasses
and I’m only twenty—
The football field around the corner, blown up
under stadium lights even at high noon, at midnight even, at three p.m., at three a.m.
It doesn’t get dark at dark anymore, I’ve lost the night like I lost a lot of things:
because you decided it, and took from me, arguably, both innocence and dignity,
made a madwoman out of me, then left me knocked up and terrified to be alive:
singing lullabies to a daughter with my eyes who is half another’s child—
And when did my survival stop being enough for everyone to admire?
I don’t know how it happened, only that what I had is gone for sure
and sunrise is just sunset a little more
yellow, and nighttime is just daytime a little more
gray, and, that I’ve made the unsettling mistake
of being guided into action by the light of the sky and showered at three a.m. thinking it
was morning, taking the baby from her crib to sit with me, waiting for the bus
when no buses are running, when they’re sleeping in the great gray parking lots
cleared for them beside small, weary parks of this drab glass and concrete city—
All those weary little parks with their pecan trees and grackles that make me want to nap
through the heat, through memory and life—everything—until it’s cool again,
but I can’t sleep when it’s light out and
everything at night is faintly orange and faintly sinister, spread bleeding,
a-wavering at the edges, pulling until it’s warped, and the first few
wakeful nights it’s novel—
To watch the moon fill out: delightful, so peculiar,
spectacular, but then,
everything at day is faintly red and humming with insects and exhaustion,
and the baby has a rash, and even paid for my story, there’s never enough cash,
and I keep more secrets than I ever had flings with boys, or mistaken loves,
and the doves on the power lines are silent both day and night, night and day
and sometimes when it’s overcast the lightning bugs flash around the porch light,
mistaking day for night, hopelessly confused,
My internal clock too—
It’s busted,
I think, beyond repair, like, might-as-well get a new one
like if you opened me up,
Go ahead and open me, go ahead and do it
my springs might spring out with that thwang and rattle of

something important falling deep down inside
and no amount of shaking would shake it loose,
that part, you don’t know which,
but that part that’s vital to my function and I’ve—
gone and lost it  

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