I thought in a central sense about daisies.

The lilies were hanging their heads.

I almost told you how they covered the stink of corpses

In the face of daisy this, daisy that—

the people making fun of

he loves me, he loves me not.

Even the small plant you gave me

I wanted to take photographs of it and then

there was no distance between the times

I’d watched it bunch up with new leaves.

The salad bar offered a selection of lumps

I could eat, so I ventured from olives to raisins,

thumbed the doorknob and that simply set

an alarm off again. From this distantly distinguishable

world, I was starting to touch down on it and size up

the items that could become me: mint, scallop, rot.

A party of coworkers: roses, bittersweet, frozen elements.

Guest with nothing to say about dismal cousins.

Two Weeks With No Phone

The clams dead inside their shells

What other wind-grieved beach next to me while everything slows

The Gulf Stream itself petering out and no one seems to say so but stewardesses

It was when we all had our hands over our ears babbling I can’t hear you I can’t hear you I can’t hear you and each declaring they were taking a break

The moon was full when I slept on the beach near horses. It was quarter moon when I got to my mom’s. A new moon four days in helped me get things done.

There was nothing to press against my real thoughts all day. Suddenly I could feel that the moment was partly full of you, your presence, that maybe you had been there all this time.

As when Cherise said that telling the truth got her morally grounded. It permitted her to see into the other world. She looked behind me at lunch and said someone is with you.

Sharp scissors, or muddled waters; I can’t reel my fish in dad until I finish this cookie:
the unmistakable feeling that you are about to say something necessary as petals.

Why do we name monsters and admonishment: they are both warnings.

Even if the finish the cookie remark, what I recall, is something you said long before I met you. Told secondhand in a living room. Your thing for luxury.

There in the dream, I threw lumber in a heap away from the barn I have never been to.

I ran through an enormous field of already cut wheat seeds, golden sift, as in the mood of your words, and suddenly realized I should not be wearing shoes.

I took a hot shower in an Italian mansion with expensive soaps and herbs and my winter coat on. What’s the point, I said.

But peacefully, that’s how we built libraries when we were kids, makeshift books from blue lined paper.

How I rode a horse who puffed himself out so that his saddle would be loose and his rider slide on the coffee tree asphodel path.

Taking care of the people who love you as much as you love them feels like never a grain of grit, a breath.

I fix Mom #Elderlydinner plain broiled salmon, boiled potatoes, and broccoli no longer emerald.

I can feel you see the lank broccoli and say it’s so dull what is this 1989?

Mom knows when I am there, but usually forgets that I have been there after I leave.

I can’t recall a single thing (foods, clouds, the cat) I reflexively thought I should take pictures of before I remembered: I don’t have a phone.

I want to talk to my friend and I never will again. Sliding.

Maple and tulip and coffee leaves overhead, logs and creeks—saddle sagging towards one side from the minute we left the barn. I was sliding off.

Nature playing a trick in the form of a smart ass horse and so the whole time he struts, you hold on tight, prepare for the moment you’ll separate.

Even with a repaired phone, the sense of inner moons, of enjoying a jot of sage.

A place for not knowing, for a friend behind us, notation of a mind’s lightning.

Cynthia Arrieu-King

Cynthia Arrieu-King teaches at Stockton University and is a former Kundiman Fellow. Her books include People are Tiny in Paintings of China (Octopus, 2010), Manifest (Switchback, 2013) and Unlikely Conditions (1913 Press, 2016). She edited the Asian Anglophone edition of dusie.


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