Tell us of a bypassed heart beating in 12C,
how the woman holds a stranger’s hand
to the battery sewn in beneath her collarbone,
and says feel this. Tell us of the man’s ear
listening across the aisle, hugging itself,
a fist long since blistered by blaze.
Outside, morning sun buckling up.
Inside, twitching bonesacks of bat, birdsong
erupting as light cracks the far jungle canopy.
Ten thousand feet below ours, a grey cat
tongues the morning’s butter left out to soft.
Last night we broke open the sweet folds
around two paper fortunes. One said variety.
One said caution. The woman in 12C would hold that
her heart needs its hidden spark, but the man shows
how some live the rest of their lives with half a face
remembering its before expression. Who was it
that said our souls know one another
by smell, like horses?
every chair in the strip mall
salon where she rents
a little space of her own
reflects a face waiting
to make a change. Another
mother next to me rips an ad
for the full Hollywood wax
& here the best graffiti:
DON’T DO DRUGS, BE SAD.
They’ll grow back, my own
mom on the bangs I butchered
more than once. Do you think
America is pretty? This skinny
blonde kid who never really
has to ask if she is, asks me
as we walk more hot city blocks
because by now we’ve chopped
the pecans to protect the power lines.
I think America is pretty. A pierced
Xicana with one side of her own
do done in deep brown waves,
the other buzzed tight
& dyed a bright chemical green.
America fits the description
& when she’s done holds up
her small mirror in the big one
turning my girl around
so she can see herself.
You can call me Erica, she says
if you like, but we like
America better here.