tiny homage to Neruda, my new BFF

Paper House
after Neruda

The yellow wallpaper. The things we do to ourselves, the things we do to others. Do you remember that garden? she asked once. I was cleaning the cages, pretended not to hear.

Love stains my words, the poet said. We had a kind of unspoken agreement I would never touch her cat.

The bruises on her arm, yellow, deepening to purple. I liked to pinch her when she wasn’t paying attention, just to hear the sounds she made. The things we do.

She was in a constant state of motion, a sort of blur that drips. Try to say something nice today — that was her mother talking.

Fifty times, she made me watch the movie about the dog and the singing fish, the one set in a desert where everyone falls asleep at the same time. Watch the body-double’s face as they fight, she told me. You can see it’s not who you think.

The garden, the packed dirt paths so cool under our ragged toes and then the rotting pears under the trees: how the wasps swirled up under my yellow skirt to sting and sting.

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