I swap out key fobs like lovers I haven’t had—
blue broken heart, glitter skull, sassy attitude jokes.
Three boys vie for my number, but they don’t speak English,
and their calls come in like water hallucinations in a desert.
In Spanish class I learn dialogue I never mastered in English—
small talk, city planning, how I feel morning, noon, and night.
Walking the halls, you tap my ass when I lengthen
your shoulder straps that sing anthems in white bubble letters—
Peace Sign, WTVR, You Laugh Because I’m Different,
I Laugh Because You’re All The Same.
I buy so much white-out they must think I have problems
of a different kind, unrelated to the test of matchmaking
by expression. Why I feed a hairbrush to your front pocket
every day is unclear to the pep rally for my insecurity.
Coach Patent Leather Black Tote
First time inside, I swim the opaque blue interior
like the hollow in your neck I always wanted
to fill with my wishes. I wish for a mermaid tail
that increases my vocabulary. We type faster
to taste the creation in our mouths, to slow
the increasing likeness of days. To protect
my holding cell ribcage, I shoulder a sustainable cobweb,
wear a new sludge, push you to the pockets of me
hardest to get to. Old gum, mint-less. A spare
tampon that fits no one. A trail of annotated life,
zipper-thin. And the ocean feels nearer,
the more we breathe.
Faux Croc Lime Green Diaper Bag
Hardly a day goes by I don’t walk past a murderer,
or think of throwing the baby in the bear pit at the zoo,
which I say in a safe, plastic-lined pocket, like this poem,
or else it’s effort negated. Preference is default, they say,
Don’t forget to be a wallpaper, patterned and strippable,
an eighteenth-century muse for a modern-day trendsetter!
Half a dye job later, I’m sporting blonde tips
that I offer like free Kung Pao samples at the mall.
Blonde Tip: keep your teen mom comments to yourself
as you feed your inner checkout aisle.
When we played Light As A Feather, Stiff As A Board,
my thoughts won, by which I mean
they were feathered and glued to the wall and I was disqualified.
Blonde Tip: Allow open headspace to confound decorum
until you’re two standard deviations away from
a hairdo, a minivan, a steady heartbeat.
Samantha Duncan is the author of the chapbooks The Birth Creatures (Agape Editions, 2016), One Never Eats Four (ELJ Publications, 2014), and Moon Law (Wild Age Press, 2012), and her work has appeared in The Pinch, Meridian, Stirring, and Flapperhouse. She serves as Executive Editor for ELJ Publications and reads for Gigantic Sequins. She lives in Houston and can be found at planesflyinglowoverhead.