The subordinate clause clattered to the asphalt:
Because I didn’t want to be a house flower.
He fluttered his fingers like a hitchhiker. He hoped
to thumb a ride from a dependent clause,
not wobble all night. He was unable to stand alone.
Until the sun shone, Although the road was
uneven, After he shred his leaves
like a desert lily...the Death Valley wind
worked its way up Badwater Basin. Was it better,
he thought, to be subordinate, While the lizard
licked the air, Before the cholla pierced his skin, than
to be a cut flower, already dead yet blooming,
reused like humans do, fussed over, oohed and ahhed
in a glass vase, then composted with stinky
okra, moldy biscuits and bread? Nah, he thought.
He staggered on, flopped over rocks. If a rosy boa
slithered in front of him, If a bobcat’s eyes
outshone the moon, ...He would find a dependent clause,
be the clause with the right echo, be the coyote
with the right howl and find a ride.
Thank you for admiring my garden
of gentian violets, but you must mean
my compliment cousin, the one with a dotted
i like the black-eyed Susan blazing up
the front bed in yellow. I complete with an e.
I am the tease that Marilyn made, the cream
cheese sandwich that Mandy fixed for Nikki.
In This is your inheritance of blue pajamas,
I am the pajamas with blue whales and dolphins
patterned across my bottom, swimming, surfing
under a down comforter. I answer questions
of what, whom, to whom and for whom in an
objective way. I stared at the beer-glazed table.
Pumpy thumbed a piece of banana bread in the kitchen.
I complete predicate nominatives: Behind you he
seems tall and thin as sheets of aluminum.
I am the light that the black flag cannot darken.
I complete thoughts the injured officer cannot tell.
I am the unknown solution to medicine
waiting for hands and minds to complete me.
My sister is imperative, maybe a heretic,
a therapist for hairless cats and bares
her soul to no one but garden gnomes.
She’s family, part of the blood feud.
Don’t pursue that girl with Chinese food she
says. Bake a cake or make peace with pies
and crust up something sweet with meat. Get
the white heat going—know what I mean.
Don’t be thinking she’s from Grub Street, and slumps
up to dinner like a suction pump, pats
her belly, tells you swell things in a death knell
voice. Get some sense. Pretend you’re French.
Love is Moving Day every day in our
family. I skim light from the horizon,
tuck it under my trenchcoat like a private eye.
I’m indicative but not wicked in mist.
Cousin Carson is drunk in the subjunctive
this month. I recommend that she be admitted
to an asylum. If she were happy…I wish it
were so, but no, she’s lost to if and though.
Sometimes messy or flexed in geometric
drifts, we moods collude, bump our butts
until we’re rude fools, attitudinal,
a skewed dudes, blue as swamp water tunes.