To Eat or Be Stung
Explain to me how this haunts me for days,
blue jays dangling from nests between
the edge of flesh and curl of nail.
I look strangely now when deciding whether to eat or be stung
wearing the month of July like the wrong lipstick.
The cicadas return in the afternoon of when
my father road a motorcycle; I cannot remember this, only the photos
that include my mother in the umbra of black and white.
For nine years Yellowjackets were in our bedroom.
No matter how hard I try to be beautiful, it always seems foolish.
The watermelon speaks when cut,
releasing its burden of water and swells the afternoon.
My Mother Considers Leaving My Father
My god how they descended,
ruby eyed and chanting
those seagulls of summer.
I miss the smell of my mother drenched
in coconut oil. Clad in a smear of her red bikini
that always brought heat lightening.
Such beauty I find myself in love
with webbed feet and my mother’s
egg salad sandwiches that we ate
while counting birds.
I remember her smiling and how
hot the sand felt beneath my feet
letting me forget where
my father was not.
They shouted until my mother tucked me in
and promised to see me
in the morning, the one thing
that felt safer than her love,
safer than the seagulls
who will also return hungry.
for my father
Such was the blood,
quickly collected before the gail.
I knew it would be easy
to slip along the ship’s bow.
The toe rail lipped the surface
of Lake Michigan, whose cold
haunted the bruises before they formed.
No one could’ve warned me when
an eight foot wave made my
feet without gravity, go blank.
And the sea went blank.
There is no morning to reconcile
my fingers dug into the metal of a cleat,
your blood, that thing that they
rid you of, fill with poison
one morning after another and with that repetition,
that endless beating of waves
against the hull, I steered toward a red house;
it was all that held me.
Monica Rico is a second generation Mexican American feminist who writes at www.slowdownandeat.com. Her chapbook “Twisted Mouth of the Tulip” is available from Red Paint Hill Publishing.