Poems by Laura Ingram

Rate of Decay

We will measure the oil slick skyline in miles per hour, asking ourselves how often the Eiffel Tower is lonely.

Crumbling bits of long-boned light between our fingers,

Together, we are

the euthanasia of elegance.

Half past fifteen and I drive like an arrhythmia,

The universe has been promised to my palms.

it should have been you,

it should have been you

a secondhand hurricane halved,

but maybe my skin is always overcast.

You are a constellation’s carcass

flaying open a second subconscious.

There is a certain rhythm to misremembering,

the syncopation of my pulse

should have thrown you off

after your study of theory

but you stayed well past

the dissonance of dawn.

You always come back to me clutching at the colors of our cleaving.

You are an estuary, coalesced

Gracelessly slung,

embalmed by the opacity of your own hands

yet you listen and understand and agree that grass is the incessant stole of decay,

that someone has indeed replaced our vertebrae with tusks of summer,

and ten years from now we’ll still be cerebral as stars,

the supernovae imploding in the space between our skulls

still light years away

from being undetectable

to the aided optic nerve.

Structural Destabilization

She is cold wash Americana,
closed on Sundays.
Her magazine babies
give her itching eyes and
aching bones,
a public service announcement
against allergy to self.

Her heart is a blood orange, pungent,
imported.
She watches the red scare swarm the places
where her spine protrudes.
Her cerebral cortex shimmers with Cloudshine,
she wonders if the Grace Period is applicable to the amygdale.

Her night terrors are the color of Cuba,
silver minnows meander through her veins,
small swamps,
brackish as being.
Her blood has been replaced with kerosene.
Duck and Cover, Duck and Cover
and you’ll be just fine..
She teaches other women’s children how to add and multiply
when they trip over their shoelaces on the way out the door
she breaks into her hands and cries at their divide.
Duck and Cover, Duck and Cover,
And you’ll be alright.

Diaspora

Your heart is a driedel

pivoting towards that relative you cringe to kiss.

Your uncles never taught you to pull coins out of ears;

Your older cousins won’t let you win.

You squirm through the same game every year;

in your father’s house,

no one is allowed to try the top twice.

My nightmares have a five-point penumbra

and you send me jaundiced stars in the mail,

scribble notes on the back in black crayon.

Most say

Get well soon.

Your mother named you with apron strings and patent leather in mind

but you always knew God was a foreign national.

In the haze of spindly legs and soft tympana

You mistake me for the eighth plague

press your knuckles into your eyes.

Once removed doesn’t make for an HLA match.

You amend the articles of ache

scrawled across the cardboard back of your composition book.

You shoot blanks on foggy Sundays with your father,

turn all the steak knives face down in the drawer when you are done–

close your eyes just in case.

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