Both the cockroach & the bird would get along very well without us, although the cockroach would miss us. —Joseph Krutch
I misspell you to dispel you lest you illaqueate or immiserate me. I feel you. I mean your presence. I sense you lurking then you appear like a clapperclaw magician. One you might as well be a million. Like that night you infiltrated—my panik awoke the sleeping old woman, I kontemplated arson, I slept with all eyes open. And I won’t name that house whose lights only illuminated your wall-krawling dominion (nor that voyeur father’s even more inappropriate behaviors). I’ve never broken a heart without utterly shattering it. Or: after what must be akin to devastation or betrayal or plain disgust I’ve not mattered for so long like the dinosaurs I mightn’t have ever existed. To help jilted lovers for fifteen dollars the San Antonio Zoo will name you after a former significant other & feed hissing you to bird, reptile or mammal; I can only imagine how many Kafkaesque Flowers have been devoured. Me being offered to kingfisher, leopard gecko, hedgehog. Me flailing at the hunger. Me breaking free & nevertheless living without my head. At least long enough to be nightmare fodder, find a damp corner, & spit terror. But it doesn’t have to be divorce or a split-up; just like stars one can name you after a beloved. They’ll even give you a certificate. Proof of devotion of a love hard but not impossible to kill.
LGBTQIA+ artist, NEA and MacDowell Fellow, and former Key West Poet Laureate, Flower Conroy’s books include Snake Breaking Medusa Disorder, A Sentimental Hairpin, and Greenest Grass (winner of the Blue Lynx Poetry Prize, forthcoming 2023). Her/their poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in New England Review, American Literary Review, The Yale Review, and elsewhere.