You Ask What Represents Me
It could be the dust that covers
my belongings because a person
is just what they bring with them.
And I have more dust than stuff.
Who knows — it could be my hair,
my fingernails and toenails, my skin
over a scab. Parts of me that decide
to grow back without me having to ask.
Maybe rooms. I always seem
to end up in rooms. Keep things
in rooms. Put my words into
rooms so I know where they are.
I wouldn’t mind if this was it —
these words — that represented me.
I’ve never been good at choosing
one thing. Ask my mother, ask my sister.
I do hope none of this makes it to my
grave. The saying goes: you can’t bring
it with you. Well I know what it’s not
and that’s my money, my loose change.
It’s what ends up on your tombstone.
Consider this my last will and
testament to borrow from Dorothy
Parker and “excuse my dust.”
Be Careful with the Math Haiku Series
Til I’m on fire
with your water, I always
ask for it too soon.
Count On Me Too
“no hard feelings”
of course not, darling
all mine are soft
My heart’s been ground at
so much, my edges are smooth.
Call me well-rounded.
Long End/Short End
We took the short sticks
we drew and made a fire
that kept us warm, kind.
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Yes, the sky tells us the moon is full
so, yes, it must be time for a change.
I wish there was something beautiful
about making decisions, being onstage
in an empty room. It’s just me
rearranging my apartment to another
apartment, job to job (three
in one year), lover to lover.
And a billboard or a prayer
or a woman’s sign in the street said
it’s okay to feel sad after the fair
choice is made. But I hope I don’t dread
the right decision. I feel it in my heart-gut.
It’s stuck in my throat like a chestnut.
“NJ man finds large pearl in his clam at popular restaurant”
title of an article published in United Press International, Feb. 28, 2022
If I were a princess, an abandoned gas station would be my ball.
My carriage would be a broken down Subaru,
an oxymoron because Subarus never break down (knock on wood).
I don’t need to go anywhere anyway,
I’m already here, nobody’s expecting me at home.
My dress, I’m glad you asked, well I wouldn’t wear a dress
because I can never find the right length for my height and
my fairy godmother is decidedly absent.
I won’t sparkle but I never meant to.
Pants, I’ll wear pants.
They come with their own motivational aphorism:
one leg at a time.
Maybe the blinking marquee could try spelling out
happily ever after and I’d try believing it.
(someone once told me I was a pearl, not a princess
it was supposed to be sweet
but it made me hidden
it made me something you bite and not chew
something to take off at the end of the day
it made me sad for the shell
how empty it would be without me,
me without it,
then I remembered that shell was the name
of a gas station and that) I was late for the ball
Emily Sperber is currently a bookseller in Seattle, WA with a degree in Creative Writing from Willamette University in Salem, OR. She has had two short stories published and anthologized by Owl Canyon Press as well as poems published by Rattle and Blacklist Journal. You can find her reading more than writing on Instagram @emilymayebe.