by Julie Gard
Bisque Porcelain Lion
You rattle the thrift shop window with your theoretical roar. You roar and roar to convince yourself of the story your life depends on, how you tore and killed your way out, but I know. Someone chose you then released you. You are free on the world now, unleashed at the Salvation Army at the corner of 21st and West Superior to charm the pants off the desk clerk at the Seaway Hotel, to demand a concierge from the depths of the old town. You sprawl on an ancient bedspread and watch the ceiling drip. I move closer to your mind, for in its shadow I grow a new cerebrum, a second chance, a third opinion. Seven fleas, born just today, crawl out of your mane.
Trinket Box Clown
Oh clown, I understand your chronic worry. Any one of us could have tops removed and insides filled with dried pumpkin seeds. You are worth far more to me, I promise, than two dollars to a woman whose hair thinned onto French Revival furniture and twitching cats. I adore your sweet suggestions of ears disappearing into black stocking cap. Eyebrows dashed, eyes shock-blue, painted lashes askew and charming. Chipped black button, frayed gold collar, mouth a blank red punctuation. One cheek smeared pink and gloved fingers clutching perfect girth. You were born to come apart and be filled. I’m a vessel too, filled with peaks of space. Contours of bone show under paint, and my neck is trimmed with gold.
Her song, played into a golf tee and out of a cracked face, is uncannily thin and high: the ether of the aftereffect of gold spray paint. Her neck is perched on the tilted end of a draping pinecone, acorn cap amassed with Elizabethan fringe. Milkweed pod wing sprouts pipe cleaner halo, glittery question mark. Nylon loop for tree-hanging is a sentient antenna, halo glue a muddy stain on snow. The nut of her face is split at the mouth, broken open with music.