Passé Composé

I am writing poems to you on the pale sides of origami paper because I can’t seem to crease it quite right, because I always stop and think that you are like getting ink under my fingernails, 
You are like dust on the radio dial
On a long drive home. 
You are like the throes of nervosa, surging through the hollow in my throat that gets sore just before the cigarette and
Blowing smoke beneath the asphalt flowers
You are like a name I don’t know, tattooed to the gnashing of my teeth
Like locked windows, or
Peanut-butter on a plastic spoon. 
You are like an outdated almanac, catalogue of caustic, 
common side effects include
You are like a discarded caul
You are like a porcelain playground
You are like the old letters stockpiled in my sock drawer, See You Soon
You are like ten-point Times New Roman, 
Viewer Discretion advised
You are like Hospital Coffee, 
like a school-bus in the summer
Or a raise in minimum wage. 
You are like lying on the grass in late October
You are like a leather jacket
You are like the endless clash of sickles and supernovae between radio stations, scythed constellations, Cold War, the christening of that small pool of felt something beneath our spines, 
You are like the age of Industry, all of that American noise, smokestacks of responsibility
You are like eating a salad at six A. M.
You are like the evening news
You are like the 1950s, mostly made of neon and nylons, 
You are like Venetian blinds
You are like a learning Korean
In a crowded classroom
With a tattered flag up front. 
You are like Chicago’s stomachache
You are like the atrophy of flowers, all thoughts governed by the black petals of
Whatever it is that opens and closes
With each change in the weather, 
A second-hand hurricane
You are like a recessive allele
You are like smearing my hands together, expecting another almost
You are like anaphora of atomic theory, every-morphing, interchangeable
You are like sitting alone in a school cafeteria
You are like thrift store chiffon, hardened off at the ends, storing all of your belongings in sagging cardboard bins
You are like Lewis Carroll’s grocery list
You are like the slums of sleep, insomnia’s tenements, seventeen stories, and chronic as Catholicism, filled to the brim with fire and cholera
You are like the iliac crest
You are like a five year-old’s fever dream
You are like used light
You are like the late eighties
You are like out of tune Church organs, lilting beneath stained-glass skin, your body is a temple, 
Forgive us our trespasses.
You are like a French Film, 
Paused
You are like broken opera glasses
Like first person plural
Or maybe the past-perfect.

 

Disputanta, VA

Laura Ingram is a tiny girl with large glasses. She has been published in thirty literary magazines. She loves Harry Styles and Harry Potter.