Ghosts of Petrified Broccoli

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We returned, overdue by half a year.
I hadn’t opened our refrigerator in six months.
What does consistent cold without care do to a garden of vegetables
in an abandoned New York apartment after how many blurry days?
I beheld my new bouquet of petrified broccoli—
burned green-black by turning unto itself during the doom.
A dried out dream deferred, to say the least.
I married it to the trash which was a pile on the floor.
There were other forgotten things I needed to toss
in the re-do of re-leaving the right way.
There were twelve pork dumplings
that now looked like hairy dark-gray storm clouds,
a herd of them rotting in a plastic container.
I was afraid it was sushi at first.
For that, each of the twelve would have been breathing.
Upon opening the door the alive things could shut me out of my own fridge,
a favorite place I hadn’t peered inside for such a long time.
The almond milk was ahead of the butter
contained in its clear incubator.
Long ago, a wife lived here.
Long ago, a life lived here.
I had left in such haste.
Whatever I was running away from did not catch me.
This rush could not hush.
It was beside itself with filth
and mayhem
and confusion
and dream.


I thought I had left the apartment fit for kings.
All the dishes washed and set.
When we walked in, it looked like ten boss-giants had lived and fought there,
maudlin fools in a loud shebang of war.
The house was an angry fuss.
Papers everywhere. Purple curlers on the cable box. A sock on the kitchen table.
Home Depot boxes tossed like brown dice. Broken art. Dishes in the sink. Dishes in the sink?
Other than that, I had done pretty well.
Still, I raised both eyebrows at my own self,
judging the woman looking back at her own Pompeii.


We had grown so heavy and fat wherever we came from,
that we broke the futon where we slept.
We took the cracked wood down to the street in an elevator,
setting it steady in front of neighbors who carried the broken thing away before sun up.
Our neighbors laughed loudly and chased each other up and down the block
well into the night.
They held an island techno party hosted by the boom boom bass of somebody’s car.
The hooptie DJ in charge never needed to sleep.
I complained to my lover from the bed we had made on the floor.
We had to keep the windows open due to my hot flashes.
Do you hear that? We never hear such loud noise in the country.
He laughed and laughed, pussy-whipped by the city’s clangor.
The next night, on our walk, a rat flashed across the sidewalk
before the next step of my green orthotic boot.
I screamed, Did you see that— rat?
My friend pretended not to see it,
skipping ahead with only jazz in his ears.


I cried when I saw the city, rolling into its lights from the car on a bridge.
A trip and a trump, a glamorous dump that felt like my old friend.
The hellos were sweet, and the gas was off, no hot water.
The moon was an orange pill to kill.
The burritos from the bodega were stuffed.
The croissants owned their butter and the carrot cake was as thick as bricks.
The accents sold me soda and gave me ancient faces from other places.
We dragged our blankets to the laundromat, a load so heavy—
it broke the handle off my 99 Cent Store wagon
tinkering only half way back up the concrete hill.
We jangled our keys while busses belched on down the road.
A sister moved me out the way with the same teeth-sucking and scowl
I save for my best private aggravations.
We were home. Phantoms on the elevator.

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