Tingo* (For Divorce)

*To gradually steal all the possessions out of a neighbour’s house by borrowing & not returning —Anjana Iyer

Your mother slaps a frenzy of honey on her plain soft bread
asking where the toaster’s gone & where’s her thieving daughter-in-law?

I stole her favorite cowboy boots & bought a ticket
for the rodeo. I watched the sun setting behind the bleachers

& held a cup of cold beer to my lips, unthinking of you.
Yes, I took your toaster & a set of tongs your hard-of-hearing

mother thought you said were her thongs & I laughed
at the impracticality before I took her wedding linen & monogrammed

bedding off the bed she’ll die in. When you lived in my house you ate
cake every day. You left cigarette burns in my cushions.

The yellowed newspaper clipping announcing our engagement, its picture of us
down by the river where we used to fool around?—I stole that too.

The bullhorns from their pens signaled disaster to anyone who knew the
signs. I stole the dirt shadowing the air. I stole the whole show.

From Landscape with Headless Mama (Pleiades Press, 2016). Copyright © 2016 by Jennifer Givhan. Used with the permission of the author.