excerpts from linda, part three

underneath the white sheets

there lives:

a floorless house

remnants of exploded stardust

a dog’s favorite tennis ball

cut up scripts that once fell from someone’s mouth

broken kite string

strands of gold woven into the bristles of a hairbrush


i could not see where she left off and i began

or where i left off and she began

everything else was a blessing

and is that not a poem?

this, i’m certain, will always be so


what keeps the city awake?

Whatever noise a giraffe makes


been with too many girls who play guitar

never been with a girl who is one

with a fragile neck that begs my fingers to knead them

pressing like dough that’ll never rise and

frets divided into quadrants, each a reason she’s cried

tears that sound like rain hitting a tin roof and

her nylon strings touched by the small hands of school children

trying to play each chord right and failing at Gm

stretching myself in every direction just to try and finish a song

without scratching the exterior from not holding her right

and if such instruments were pocket sized

i’d let her come along , if she wanted


i tried oysters for the first time in front of your mother

didn’t throw up because

you once told me i could control it

she said i “did very well”

and in my mind i pulled out from the back pocket of my skinny jeans

a list of everything i will one day do “very well” for her daughter


charcoal-tainted hands you work in the kitchen

the core of the earth begins with the crevices underneath your fingernails

paint my body black when you

touch me with those charcoal hands

whispering to me this is a rare form for the sun to take

then erase me from dark spaces

creating the image of the girl you want me to be

techniques learned in morning art classes

mess up the room with me

with your charcoal hands


vibrations fill the room like the same kind of surprise

a mother has hearing her baby laugh for the first time

for the word love becomes an adjective, not a verb

as if brushing the hair of a girl playing a six string is the answer

to even the hardest of arithmetic


sometimes my bones hurt so bad

want to bury them on an empty island for a pirates to find

trade them to a sailor for fur the color of your eyes

parts of me, wrapped in a cheap handkerchief

aboard a ship without a flag

cast me away for mermaids to swallow

sinking down to the atlantis you are

so I don’t have to do it myself

who needs structure

when silhouettes are the ones

who get to dance after the sun sets


the day you decide that

the stress of fighting with me

weighs more than

the wholeness of loving me

Heavy metals will sink into my pores like a river

The branches of the oak tree will arch like a queen’s back

Birds will start using feathers for their own pillows

Rough winds will blow away every eyelash before she can make a wish

And the world , love

will never recover


a seagull’s bill becomes a turntable needle

spinning the soundtrack to our beachside tea party

mugs look peculiar on this glass table

imagine looking at them from below

you are taking pictures again

and i exist in the space between your squinting eyelids


so for now i’ll just keep

tying my shoes bunny ear style

Posted by Shelby Curran on Friday 11 March 2016