I Want To Tell You
About the jay tearing apart a mouse
and eating it. I had to stop watching
to kill the waves of nausea running
over me. Did you know the Cyanocitta Cristata’s
feathers tell a lie? They’re just gray
and light refraction makes them look blue.
Have I ever mentioned the time I was seven
and my mother flew up into the baby buggy
when she saw a mouse and screamed
for me to get a broom and kill it? I chased
the tiny critter around and around the basement
like a wild thing chasing its prey.
Afterwards, I beat it to death then threw up.
Another thing—There’s a family of mice
living behind my lilies of the valley,
though they don’t muss with my poisonous
blue Eve’s Tears. Do the flowers
imagine they’re back in a garden of eden
where the scented bells mirror quiet skies,
where they’re the heroes and smite the snake,
and where gods are blind and apples rare?
I want us to be there, too, skin to skin,
like Adam and Eve, curling up to a future
redolent with muguet. Best of all, fear
won’t put us to bed and I won’t have to
kiss you goodbye.
Looking For My Muse
I look for him in the night sky but it’s hard to see with high-
flying clouds chasing the dirty moon’s face. I look into night’s
edge. Is that him slinking away, hiding under a street lamp?
If only I could stew in both pleasure and pain
sipping wine on the front porch, maybe in this year of loss
he would burst forth and blossom like a thorny rose.
I set out books and journals as decoys, play Monk,
Duke and Ella, even promise to marry the next weedy flower
that stirs in the sun if only he’d show up.
He used to cling to my neck –we would spend all day in bed,
a day of delirium, sweat and crumpled paper full of erasures.
When night unfurled, there were no regrets.
Forgetting and age are a formidable pair. If muse is to return,
he must shatter my foggy glass, dig up magenta, topaz, even plum secrets
and bellow while I make a mosaic out of all scraps he leaves me.
Halfway through the soup course
my ears wish they were
His words, gray as his beard,
ramble, grow mold,
take over the entire table,
leaving mine stuck
in my throat.
A bawling baby
and a dropped tray
of silverware make
the air flinch, swallowing
By dessert his monologue
has scaled the mountain
of monotony. As we stand
to leave, he grows tired.
Silence tumbles down
loud as a shattered glass
and suddenly I remember
how loneliness can leave you
feeling naked with only words
to cover yourself.
© Mary M. Sesso
Mary M. Sesso is a retired nurse who volunteers at the National Children’s Center where she sits on the Human Rights Committee. She’s active in three writing groups and her chapbook, “The Open Window,” was published in 2017. Her latest work has, or will, appear in Comstock Review, Rat’s Ass Review and Helen Literary Magazine.