The Number You Have Dialed Is No Longer in Service
Since you’ve been gone,
it feels like a Monday after
a long holiday, all stale
coffee and jammed printers.
The mail is junk and bills,
and it’s always leftovers for
dinner. I don’t feel lonely.
I don’t feel much of anything
except that the carnival has
left town for good, like it never
happened. Your body became
ash, blowing into my eyes
as I scattered your remains.
My vision blurs with their grit,
and all my tears only make it worse.
Capture the Moment
Small fires burn in the street
and the smell of gunpowder
permeates the night. Another
fourth of July, and I feel the old
pull of sadness for summers gone
past, the wish that if I tried hard
enough, I could shed myself and join
the sparklers that erupt in the sky,
that beauty could erase my weariness
and grief, that somehow the fires
would burn forever instead of just
on Independence Day. And all
my life would be consumed
in smoke, blotting out the sun,
leaving only traces of glittery
explosions, of all the spectacular
before it evaporates before my eyes.
We Now Return to Your Regularly Scheduled Program
I tell you, I didn’t know
it would be like this, the past
a fever dream of endless days
that led to this version of myself,
a haunted house that I dare not
enter. I am what happens after
you break the glass in case
of an emergency. I am the thing
you bought, the one you imagine
you couldn’t live without it until
its possibility morphs into reproach.
You aren’t the only one who
keeps something because you
don’t know what to do with it.
Michelle Brooks has published a collection of poetry, Make Yourself Small, (Backwaters Press), and a novella, Dead Girl, Live Boy, (Storylandia Press). Her poetry collection, Pretty in A Hard Way, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2019. Her collection, The Pretend Life, was published by Atmosphere Press in February 2020. A native Texan, she has spent much of her adult life in Detroit.