I split three pills with my ficus and now
it’s being weird. It won’t drink my breath or eat
the sun or fight off
the spider and his wife, whom I also
split three pills with,
because it’s Christmas, because
I was sad driving past
the shuttered stationery shop and the woman
dragging her kid on a leash.
I split three pills with the woman
and three pills with the kid. I measured my heart rate
and pronounced myself legally dead. My ficus
gave me three pills. I felt better. I told
a bath towel, and my friend’s bulldog,
and the dregs at the bottom
of my tea. I told the three pills in my pocket
and the three pills
in my bed. Each one
a loose pearl
ready to string together
in my belly, in the bellies of people I loved
or thought of when I watched a pigeon
disappear inside a hawk.

More by Ruth Madievsky

Electrons

The eye chews the apple,
sends the brain
an image of the un-apple. Which is similar
to the way I throw my voice
like a Frisbee, like salt
over a shoulder, a birthday party
where someone’s brother
is grilling hot dogs, a little speed
in his blood,
some red balloons. The eye
is the most deceptive
organ in the body.
Followed closely by the hand,
which refuses to accept
that touch comes down
to the repulsion of electrons,
so that when I hold
the hand of the person I love,
mostly I am pushing
him away. Which has something to do
with the striking resemblance
between a bag
of individually wrapped candies
and the human heart.
The sticky glass
of their shattering. How love
can crack like a tooth
kissing a sidewalk,
the way right now someone’s car leapfrogs
a sidewalk, her body
making love to the windshield
and becoming
the windshield. And still the fireflies glow
with their particular sorrow.
The police tape
separating the mind from everything
that is not the mind
proves imaginary. My eyes
find the face
of the person I love
and pull out their fork and knife.

You Look Up Pictures of Icelandic Ponies

before sleep
and carry a box cutter
for protection
you are an animal that is all loins
and no dexterity
you are the loneliness
and non-loneliness of a planet with a flag in it
and something ugly raccoon-paws
the inner lining of your throat
but you swallow it
and you smash a snow globe in a parking lot
and you leave the door open
to the tea factory’s peppermint room
contaminating everything
the sleepytime blend
the almond sunset and genmaicha
the hibiscus broth your parents made you drink
to prevent recurrent UTIs
and outside the palm trees
in need of treatment for exotic diseases
keep dying
slowly like a woman circling a parking lot
and if you had to name what you think you are
you would say bogwolf
and the thing clawing your throat
draws blood
but you swallow it
and you live for the ways people in love penetrate
each other
for the sweetness of lichens
for the return of normal hand smell
after wearing latex gloves
you thank the bones that made your soup
and all the brake pedals that aren’t broken