BRETT HANLEY | Two Poems
Could I Subpoena You Like Beetlejuice, Emily?
I write your name again, Emily, hoping you
know when I write it. You’ve won, my desperado,
won’t you travel back, be my taskmaster, ask me
to order us Tikka Masala for dinner, do whippits
and say Fuck you, Susan, I’ll see you on Mars?
Time is different on the fourth planet,
there we’re stuck in that moment of you
on our fat beige couch in tighty whities,
the ones stained with a drop of electric blue
nail polish. You read my Elle horoscope,
tell me to go outside and make my shadow
waltz, to stop being such a groundhog.
You’re a shadow puppet now, and the bulb
in my flashlight is dimming. I wanted to come
with you wherever you’d go, and I bought
a used car to prove it, the thing didn’t pass
the emissions test, smoked like it learned to flirt
in hell, and you said I bought a car just like me,
its tires too small for its body like my feet.
I still can’t imagine any arm around me at night
besides your left, but I stayed up too late too often,
the car dead in the driveway, a sculpture of sorts,
your arm tucked at your side when I finally
got to bed, the drone of the trucks
that spray for mosquitos seeping into
and getting caught in the molasses of where
your mind had gone, where you were the king,
baby, and I was your queen, all of it velvet.
Susan Poses as Barbara Walters to Interview Emily
Do you still hear the owl? The one you started hearing
after you were too poor to go to your grandma’s funeral?
Remember when the owl sounds turned chicken?
Remember when Susan asked you what animal
she’d morph into when you grieved her? Wasn’t that
insensitive of her to ask? Do you think she regrets it?
Do you think she regrets more than she can count
on her talons? But did she become armadillo as you
predicted, is that her lifeless, upside down crushing
bluebonnets on the side of the Texas highway?
You liked her upside down, remember? Will you
still haunt her if she moves on? Will you antelope,
will you panther, will you leave your koala prints
all over her until she wakes up insisting you visited
her one last time, feral? How do you like the Midwest?
Is it cold, are there cornfields? Have you ever cried
in an interview before? Are you crying now?
Brett Hanley is a Poetry Editor for Southeast Review. She holds an MFA from McNeese State and is a PhD candidate at Florida State. Her work is forthcoming or has recently been published in River Styx, Gulf Coast, Hobart, Puerto del Sol, THE BOILER, and elsewhere. American Poetry
Journal recently published her debut chapbook, Defeat the Rest.