What I Was

by Isadora Spangler


When I was an anarchist:
Your dog licked its hind legs raw.

When I was a scientist:
A hurricane flooded the Coral Ridge mall.

When I was a film critic:
A cockroach stole cash from my friend.

When I was a free spirit:
Telephone poles bent inward, creating a bridge over the hot pavement.

When I was a realist:
A butterfly landed on a fire hydrant.

When I was a nihilist:
A seagull broke its seagull boyfriend’s heart.

When I was an apologist:
The seagull developed a fetish for pelicans.

When I was a daughter:
I pet the white belly of my cat.

When I was a failure:
The performance artist cut her tongue.

When I was broke:
I dreamt about singers–Frank Ocean, Kurt Cobain, Odetta and Jessica Pratt.

When I got paid:
I read nothing but the backs of shampoo bottles.

When I was a cheater:
Your mom taught me to dance cumbia.

When I was a saint:
A point became two points, then a line.

When I was a slut:
The squirrels outside sang karaoke nonstop.

When I was a Marxist:
Banana trees sprung up in the backyard.

When I was a feminist:
An ancient spirit roamed the streets, looking for a soul with which to intertwine.

When I was a stoic:
The color orange took the day off.

When I was a hedonist:
The server balanced a tray of glasses on her head.

When I was an atheist:
The technician diffused the bomb.

When I was a spiritualist:
Blue water bounced the kayak like a mother with her child.

When I was an employee:
Days fell out.

When I was a hippie:
A bleeding man stood behind a wall.

When I was a punk:
Apartment buildings resembled flames.

When I was a skeptic:
Water learned my age.

When I was a caretaker:
Traffic lights threw secret parties for stop signs, if no one was looking and the moon was out.

When I was a friend:
We walked to the graveyard every day.

When I was a kid:
Iguanas were the kings of South Florida.

When I was an empty space:
Coughing passengers got the airplane sick.

When I was a mirror:
Everyone looked indescribably beautiful.

When I was a mirror:
I resembled an empty space.

When I was a mirror:
Fire ants marched straight into the nozzle of a green hose. 

When I was a mirror:
The pine trees whispered something to the forklift as it droned.


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