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November 28, 2022

Two Poems

Carmen Dolina

From Across the Living Room

gorgeous thing sprawled out on the sofa,

watching an episode of the show we like

while waiting for the pumpkin soup to boil,

    you built me a home!    an actual house-shaped

        tea light holder!    out of clay!    with an ugly

    cat we’ve yet to own!    stamped onto its side!

sitting on the shelf!    by the annotating copy you gave!

    of a book we both cried over!    you folded the pages!

        vandalized the cover!    hid dad jokes

    i’ve yet to find in the margins!    in service of the


    warning you wrote!    on the dedication page!

next to a drawing of your dog!    i will not be careful!

    i will not pay any mind!    i will not stretch its spine

like i did mine at yoga!    most days i am wound

    tight like the towel i snap    after a bath!

        like a toy car    i’d get you for christmas!

            you gift me recklessness!    de-calculation!

                        there’s nothing we can’t laugh at!





The cool-de-sac splits open my soles,

careful of the bone, and I catch ripe mango

foot ache. Kinda gross, how they fall on roads

same as tires. I tell you to kick one,

laugh when you go in for the swing.

What else is there to do in circles?

We yell at birds, or about them. We wait

for the Rottweiler and Great Dane.

You pick me a flower. The mangoes and I

have a staring contest, and I win, under a branch,

tempting fate. We dream up emergencies,

air-conditioned and fastened

together on the same asphalt, but only a while.

It’s too sticky to stay out this long, save for

a breeze, a whisper of February. Next month,

it might be cold. Another month, maybe colder.

I’d go ‘round with you til it isn’t.