Poem Every Day in July 11: Hotel Blanket of Clouds


a moment’s pause when work
is rushed
reveals clouds outside
the window

grey and huddled
overhead
like a hotel blanket’s
woolly drapery

that can never reach
the edges
of the sky’s
wide bed.

it’s only a temporary reprieve.
harrows inside
the room of your body
can be put to rest

behind mostly-
closed eyes,
but before long the clouds
will dissolve––

you always wake up
to styrofoam cups
and cold powdered eggs
and cracked spoons.

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humid: A Poem


large-1humid is the color of the sky
at dusk when there are no clouds
and everything is purple-orange
and awash with incredibly, vastly
blank

humid is the breath you can’t know
swimming at the small of your mouth
and it’s warm, and it’s quiet,
and it makes you cry

humid is the instrumental rolling like
raindrops across tinted windows
and it wears your soul away
into vallies and canyons
over centuries, millenia

humid is the moment when you realize
that you only live the way you do
because of the people that
they killed

they killed people

they killed people

humid is when you realize
you may never embody yourself

and when you wonder if there is a self
to embody.

All the Leaves in the World: a Short Story


Lucy puts a cigarette up to her lips. She’s never smoked before.

The view from the front porch is dismal: overcast, like a dark watercolor wash, and still as death. The trees have either dropped their leaves in a brown flurry or look like they’re about to. The cement beneath Lucy is cold, and particularly stiff, as she can feel through her feet. She rests most of the weight on her knees, propping up slightly with her elbows, and pushes a long strand of hair behind her ear. Even when she takes a breath, the air around her doesn’t move.

A cough erupts from her chest. All the tar and nicotine leaves a bad flavor on her tongue, but she sucks it in again anyway.

Slowly, a leaf tumbles from the sky, having a hard time pushing through the undisturbed layers of sky. It’s red, one of the last ones. Nothing else has been truly red since summer ended, since she and Anthony called it quits. In July, and even into August, red was the only color in her world. It was the shade Anthony would turn every time she smiled widely, the color of their matching concert shirts, the color of the sun beading down on their backs. Now, the world is brown, soggy, and left at the curb for a yard waste company to haul away.

The tip of the cigarette flickers orange and yellow, sending a trail of invisible smoke into the air. Quietly, it create a soft mirage against the trees that line the block. Everything is quiet here.

***

In June, all the trees had broad green leaves that captured the late spring rain. It was underneath her umbrella that she first met Anthony, who was walking somewhere indefinite, as he so often did. He had closely trimmed hair the color of red delicious apples, and flaming lips that he bit all to often. Immediately, Lucy saw him as a summer fling in the waiting. She let him stand under the umbrella with her.

“Where are you headed?” she asked.

He smiled coyly. “You tell me.”

She didn’t yet know that he liked the Beatles, or that his favorite color was scarlet, or that this was a line that he had been tossing around in his head all day waiting for someone to ask him the right question.

He hadn’t yet told her that he loved the way she wore socks that came over her boots and dared to wear her hair down in the rain.

***

The hot part of the cigarette draws dangerously close to Lucy’s fingertips. She imagines dropping it at the base of the tree with the warm-colored leaves, burning it to the ground, and the thought excites her. She stretches her legs and wiggles her toes, which are barefoot and exposed. The strand falls into her face again, and she wonders why it can’t stay back in the ponytail with all the other strands. Thunder rips across the sky. It resonates against the houses and the plants, up and down the empty street.

***

Along with the summer solstice came a sudden switch in climate, from soggy to steamy. This was the time she and Anthony found out that they shared an undying love for a somewhat underground band and, by coincidence, they were coming to the Four Seasons open amphitheater downtown the next week. Anthony bought two tickets. They celebrated over ice cream.

The next day, they prepared for the concert by listening to every album in chronological order. Some of the songs, as they flew around her mind, reminded Lucy of Anthony. They were all her favorite songs, even the ones that didn’t have to do with love, but just had a nice melody.

As she walked to his house, Lucy noticed three more red trees. Somehow, these trees had skipped the earlier, more subtle stages of yellow and had plunged directly into the depths of crimson from the beginning. Not even a week of July had gone by yet.

***

A drop comes down from the sky to squelch Lucy’s flame. The cigarette rests limp between her middle and index fingers, damp now, and useless. She moves her arm to toss it into the grass, make it look like some random passerby had dropped it there and save herself the trouble of explanation.But something stops her short.

***

The concert was filled with strangers. None were willing to let Lucy and Anthony get through to the stage, so there was no clear view of the band.

“As long as we’re not going to be able to see, we might as well listen somewhere more private,” Anthony suggested.

Already the ground was littered with leaves, some partially decayed, most still vibrant and intact. He led her further and further into a sparsely vegetated area of the grounds, where there were trees, a bench, and still some sound from the stage. They sat down on the concrete bench, soothing their burning feet, and Anthony laid his hand gently on top of hers.

He began to lean in slowly. Leaves fell from the trees more and more rapidly the closer he came.

“Do you see that?” she asked. “The leaves are throwing confetti.” These words were meant to distract him, throw him off his game, but they were punctuated, instead, with his lips against her cheek.

“This is beautiful,” he said. “I’m going to make you a crown, no, a palace, out of all the leaves in the world.”

She didn’t respond. His words hung like dusty cobwebs, making her choke.

“I can’t do this, Anthony,” she huffed. “We’ve only known each other for two weeks.”

***

Lucy pictures a house made of leaves. Eventually, it would rot and die, or turn brown and cave in on itself, gagging the occupants. Anything built on such flimsy materials will collapse.

With this thought in mind, she strolls, through the pouring rain, to the curb. The leaves are over saturated with rainwater, but she lifts them regardless. She fiddles with one until it looks, in some way, like a boy, and puts a skirt on the next one so it looks like a girl. She constructs three walls and sits the boy inside of them. He falls to the floor. She adds a roof.

Lucy joyfully throws the cigarette into the curb and regresses, with the leaf girl, to her house. While her back is turned, the leaf roof swells with liquid until it falls down, carrying the leaf house, resident and all, away into the street.

The leaf girl sits on top of her cork board like a paper doll might, and here, at last, she is safe and dry.

Supercell: A Poem


The clouds envelop the sky

like a gaping mouth seizing prey

and make the world a subtle shade of dinge

that looks like blue

but is grey,

the lightning cackles from

a place miles from here and

turns the darkness back to day for

a fraction of a second.

I drink in the thunder,

and it fills me down into my toes,

and other parts where the sun rarely touches down

even pouring some of its heavy honey

into my eyes and

bringing out the definition

of the shadows on the pavement and on the leaves.

The low winds whistle on

their journey through the awnings,

leaving a hollow noise

to balance out the ripples

of the raindrops splashing in their own puddles

and the glare of the moon

is blanketed by sheets and sheets of cloud

that fold over and around themselves

like a dance

performed by endless numbers.

This is where I feel at home,

with the rustling noises, and the smell

of things becoming damp then

soaked, with the vision of

quilts of clumsy lace and horizontal

pellets, the feeling

of not knowing, of being

alone and afraid and in a cage and other things that are mysteriously pleasant,

the rolls of rumbling

filling and satisfying

to the last drop.

I am not a torment,

I am a misunderstood wave of love and

in a storm I find

that I am not so lonely in

being the way I am

and so I follow it East

kept warm by comfort

until the light filters back in.

Fourth Grade: A Poem


tornado-and-lightning

In the fourth grade,

we learned about tornadoes.

We learned about the temperature dropping,

the calm before the storm,

the unpredictability.

Last night the sky was very dark,

and there were frequent,

impressive strokes of purple lightning,

that looked like someone had turned the sun on again,

reverting night back into day.

Last night the wind screamed,

brushing against the car,

where I sat and looked at the sky.

Last night,

I imagined the sirens going off,

suddenly,

leaving me with nowhere to go,

trapped.

Last night my dreams were the same thing.

I knew it was there,

but everyone thought I was being paranoid.

They only evacuated at the very last minute.

Some ran,

some hid,

everyone was pulled up inside of the swirling winds.

One of Those Nearly Perfect Days


Today was perfect. Or at least close.

Don’t get me wrong…the guy of my dreams didn’t pledge his love to me, I didn’t win the lottery, I didn’t meet the cast of my Harry Potter. But it was still a pretty great day.

When I walked out first thing in the morning, I was physically shocked with the warmth. Picture 4The sky was a vibrant shade of deep blue, even with the clouds, and the trees were silhouetted just so. It was otherworldly. I felt like I had fallen asleep and had been transported to a dream, and I had a strange euphoria that comes along with the feeling of being in a dream (unless I’m the only one who gets that).

All morning felt sort of surreal, and I think it was from the weather. I kept glancing out the windows and wishing I was outside with the blue sky and the black trees and the cloudy quilt. The thought of the warmth of nature through my jacket and against my skin made me feel like where I was inside was a prison complex.

And then, when I was nearing the end of my time locked up, it began to rain outside. It didn’t start with a drizzle or a quiet roll, it was spontaneous with thunder and lightning and water. But, instead of being deathly afraid, as I usually would be, I wanted to go and run around like an idiot in the pouring rain. Maybe it had something to do with Spanish class. Don’t most things?

The wet sidewalks (wet, not damp) didn’t bother me, and, in fact, they only added to the experience of the day. I can’t be totally sure why, but the puddles were okay. Even though I was wearing suede boots.

The only things that could have made this day better were listed above. But for a Tuesday, it really was almost perfect.

Ciao for now,

Mikki

snow finally: A Poem (Day 8 of 12)


A+dusting+of+Snow

so it snowed out here,

kind of,

last night.

there’s just a little dusting,

a little nothing,

on the ground, but that’s okay.

even though the sun has

taken

a lot of the snow back

already,

it’s now officially

probable that it will snow on Christmas.

i haven’t gotten a white

Christmas

every year since my childhood,

and kind of they’re

still

a rarity for me.

i love them, they are

my favorite. i wish there were more.

as much as i hate

the cold,

as much as i despise

the wet…

the snow,

the perfect combination,

cannot be hated or despised.

the snow is a promise of what is to be.

snowfall, i await you,

your sole devotee.