Everybody I meet says Thou Shalt Honor,
from the olives to the apple bins. The celery hearts to the pickled
eggs. From the flat, happy families gracing those fat-free chips
to the slick space-soldiers blasting their subtext through
my DVD binge. Those scuttles that tick down the bathroom walls.
The mysteries that clog my kitchen sink. The caption
on every cat meme and the email winks and your eye-twitching
cameo pop-ups that still police my wrinkled dreams.
I see it in random Tweets. Screen it as a secret
betrayal that spins from the rainbow pinwheels I faithfully fail
to iAvoid. Alive to dead to the traffic stops between, this whole
ungodly world readies its stones, purses its spit, shape
shifts, calls me Ungrateful Child. And I can’t drink any more
Family über alles. I say: if you felt in all good
conscience that you needed children to be complete,
then who did you believe You were? So I live
alone, too. And I can’t answer that
phone. I drive aimlessly at night. I think
It shouldn’t be so hard to pretend people
might let you laugh or breathe. Simply bite out a smile
and relax, guilt-free. Say we earned it, say we were worthy. Just
imagine: plucking an apple from the bin with nobody
hovering above. Nobody hoping and ready-breathless at that brink
of your mind, waiting to mash every mouthful of sweet, tart joy….
Last night I dreamed a cop pulled me over, made a highway stop
to hold me, just for being. Just to cradle me on the night’s quiet
shoulder, while the whole huge egg of the world
floated through seas of ticket ink. It’s nothing personal,
he said. You’re free to go. I couldn’t blink. He was armed
with a blank face and I went limp as old celery–surrendered to him
my every sigh. His sworn duty wasn’t the twisted olive
switch of an ancient and blistering hostage love.
C.B. Auder’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Moonchild, Unbroken, Cotton Xenomorph, #thesideshow, The Ginger Collect, Uppagus, and elsewhere. Aud can be found in the grocery store attempting to communicate with normal human people through means of a personal doughnut language, or Tweeting at @cb_auder.