by M. D. Myers
You look past dents in the cans.
Bruised fruit-flesh—that’s fine.
But boxes, you have to inspect the seams.
At 15, I pretend sci-fi—
[the food comes to us from far away.
has had a rough journey from earth to this
boiling rock. we’ve been marooned. maybe
we were criminals, who knows, who cares anymore.
survive. don’t get eaten.
sometimes we are invaded]
At 15, I bring home grain beetles
for the second time. Secret breach. They sing in the cupboard
in the box in the rice. After three days I wake
to my sister’s reproach—
check the seams.
This all has to go.
[they’re everywhere cry the abandoned colonists]
She fights for a week against their gleaming
incursion. Seed-bodies, tiny mouths, wanton
& hungry in the cabinets. Then gassed.
Popped like seeds, small implosion of air.
[i am still scraping along on that planet rationing
the good oxygen failing to check the frontiers for risk]
Last night you were fighting
with bottles again— I drove you
by the house my mother was made
to give back, where I pretend
the invaders I unknowingly smuggled as a child
are germinating in the dark kitchen.
[they have been waiting for years growing in size and hunger]
We know a thing or two about family
setting fire to the carpet beneath
our homely feet. The new owners keep
the grass short, don’t collect trash
like curios. But they saved the swing
my grandfather hung, & its tree was still strong.
Swinging with you under the bottle-
colored moon, we listened together
high & old & hungry]