| PUBLIC NOTICE
|| 1. Wedding
She hangs up the notice
at the bank, onto the bulletin board.
The font, just right
but the layout, a little off centre.
A friend made it for her.
She can barely
hang the notice, for shaking.
The bottom of the page
has vertical strips of the same
repeated phone number.
Other notices have a toothless look
where their numbers
have been pulled off. She hopes hers
will look the same, hopes there will
be the same interest. Vaguely.
What she really wants is
that he'll see. He'll walk in
and see, then have a hot knife flash
sever his lungs from the inside.
For sale. Call Cindy.
Never used. White as a blank page,
that waits for the story
to emerge from a pen tip, waits
for the rough language of hands.
She always imagined herself floating
as an angel, down through
the apricot trees into a farm boy's
arms, the gown spread
like a blanket or frost, the moon
caught in a halo of clouds.
Plum thorns would tear,
and wild raspberries would stain,
her dress. She would wake up in a bed
brought deep into the orchard,
where a house would be built,
that no one else would see,
only them. The moon would
kiss her breasts.
3. For Sale
She was sold. It was simple.
The price, cheap: it cost
only dignity and dreams.
He told her there were places
he could touch that could turn her
white and icy, hold her breath,
steal her briefly away. He flashed
her the smile she loved. She offered
herself to him as a gift
of caged doves. Dates and plans set.
She looked forward, anxious,
and the days flowed
as she tried to hurry past them.
Her life, arranged before her
like a street map. He chose instead
the alleys. And she began slowly
to understand why
she cried, dug
deeper wells into her chest.
4. Never Used
Thumbtacks are not actually
coffin nails, but she thinks
as much, as she pushes
the pointed tips into
the soft cork bulletin board,
only briefly imagining
that it's his head.
from The Wind is a Tall Man Striding
Copyright © Jim Slominski