by Brittany LaPalme
I use a knife.
I spread the fruit before me, palming the brown hair,
The flagella of an organelle;
I rub it and cut it in half.
Juices, green, leak onto the countertop.
They stain the dried coffee and linoleum pits,
A drip of antifreeze to a mound of embryos.
So tonight, I’ll wake to footsteps and ghosts of memory,
With the knife under my pillow,
Not for the memories, but for the men
Who’ll stumble down my hall at three in the morning
And jiggle the doorknob,
Shouting about how I’d like to fuck them.
Maybe one of these nights I won’t wake up –
The stench would bring my landlord hollering
Until he found my severed stomach
From my nightmare thrashings.
Maybe I should buy a gun instead.
I use a washcloth to wipe the juices
From the countertop, keep wiping,
Clean the linoleum, the divets,
The rust around the sink, the yellow
On the walls, the locks on the doors;
I mix bleach with water and let the smell
Baptize the air. It burns
The sweat on my skin and purifies
The drops before they fall to the floor.
Tomorrow I’ll buy jasmine – pluck it into
Little bouquets and leave it on the windowsill
For the streets to admire. Maybe I should honor
My stoop with trinkets from my last vacation,
Or with pebbles I might find in the park.
I stop scrubbing and marvel on my knees.
My sweat pools with the puddles of bleach and dirt
While across the street the neighbors scream at each other,
Scream to the neighborhood, why they hate their
Life, hate each other, wish, goddamn it, they could be alone
To find someone new.
Brittany LaPalme is an up-and-coming writer who teaches court-adjudicated youth to love Shakespeare in her spare time. LaPalme has presented her teaching techniques at the ACSI conference and has worked as Urban Impact Foundation’s Shakespearean dramaturg for the past four seasons. For more of her poetry and prose, visit her blog at dancewalkerscollection.com.