Jen Tynes

Romancing the Starrights

Then the Starright twins came in, all laced and hard of hearing--their corduroy jackets split against the folds with my lips in the backs of yellow or black checkered cabs, of chrome and orange vinyl bar stools, of knees sweating even when the wind changes directions, lazy eyes asking for just one more bend. Sometimes they are Margaret and Imogene and sometimes they are men-- the former, darted-gingham eyes and breast plates, old bartenders with piss-yellow index fingers burning tight; the latter deftly dumb aggravators of the farm commission, velcro tennis shoes split over toes that curl too often, smallest finger tuna-laden to feed stray cats like second wives, that keep sucking and biting and gone. When we kiss all the cheeks and jawbones get confused, turning late for the whistle of a forgotten lead teapot set flush on the stove's eye. Sometimes the Starrights' flush is all I want to remember, the way it stood taut against both sides of my window screen, the first time we saw the hay balers float by. The sun set early for once, leaving us to imagine this is how moths feel, come September, just some wings stuck between their teeth.

not train

late one night two years before the second his spine was cauterized for, my mother & i barred the door with an aluminum curtain rod and dreamt its bending prongs so completely we had to move: it is a reckless hand that smashes sparrows' nests, because they think the hatching season is over, and it is even a reckless hand with the sordid nests of crows :falling apart around you :was divined, why didn't we think of it before? the bearing snap, the obtuse engine, the startled notion to purr.

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