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November 10, 2020

2 Poems

Colleen Rothman

Watching s5 of Queer Eye

I keep wondering how everyone’s doing—
all these Afters stuck in the Before.

How is Rahanna’s mobile pet grooming business?
Does she still visit her parents,
though she no longer needs to plug in her van?
I hope they’re out on their stoop, shooting the shit
from a safe distance.

Has the Anxious Activist shifted from climate change
to more pressing concerns? Perhaps she regrets
the timing of her gap year.

Did Ryan restock his bedroom pantry
with Pop-Tarts and teriyaki sauce, or retreat
to the family business after quitting on camera?
He must be busy evicting despite DJ-career ambitions
plotted over the lightly scripted hour.

I used to be able to consume the lives of others
as entertainment and instantly forget them.

The Sweeneys must be using the hell out of their new deck
and living-room bar covered in candles. What about Tyreek,
the writer who’d finally found stable housing,
Marcos, the fishmonger who opened a restaurant,
Nate, with his struggling gym.

Each group hug and door-handle grab jolts me
into last summer, I think, when this season was filmed,
green leaves in the b-roll of a city I’ve never visited
and won’t anytime soon.

I think about what’s coming for them. It hurts to know.


Veterans Memorial Blvd.

the music store where I took piano lessons
is now called Furniture Expo Plus Mattress
I guess because the Expo came first
and then the Mattress

down the street, another new store, Total Wine,
I guess because we’re out of ideas
it’s by a burger joint with an apologetic banner
“now open sorry it took so long”

the empty blue box that once sold toys
the Dunkin, either moved or remodeled
Gambino’s bakery with the same giant cake sign
and every few blocks, a bank that tells time

across the canal where we lined up for parades
the Oshman’s I saw get robbed when I was nine
not a stickup, just a guy running into the parking lot
holding armfuls of tennis skorts

it’s now a Goodwill, next to a Mattress Direct,
direct from where I don’t know,
selling a king for the price of a queen,
a queen for the price of a twin

Dorignac’s, where my grandma bought only
creole cream cheese because they were “high”
she didn’t babysit, but she’d let me help her make groceries
at Schweggie’s, Canal Villere, or Economical

the Houston’s I thought so fancy, with its leather booths
and fries in various thicknesses, almost as nice as the TGI Fridays
in the office building by Kmart, currently for lease,
though the space wouldn’t be right for a mattress store