but all I saw peering back was a Josephine Baker paper doll decked out in bananas.
After I ate the bananas, all the peels shrugged off in pairs.
There was nothing left but a brown paper bag I made into a puppet. I named her Frida
for her pipe cleaner brow, for sock monkeys dangling from toilet paper rolls
she used for arms. She was pumping the monkeys like barbells, and one squealed
“Diego!” and the other “Leon!” while the TP unrolled gloriously onto the sand.
It was the year they replaced all the universities with stadiums. The faculty were asked
to become mascots or referees, but there weren’t enough corporate sponsors
to keep the teams afloat, so someone decided to rip out the Astroturf and erect topiaries
instead. There was a hedge depicting Kim Kardashian flexing her ass and another
of Scott Walker with his finger
testing the direction of the wind, and there was one bonsai diorama of a seminar table,
with half the students looking up and half staring into their phones, and you or I or an open-
mouthed adjunct professor reading Audre Lorde or Euripides or Berryman’s Dream Songs,
depending on who was pruning the plant.
It was the year I saw my True Love stuffed into the belly of a cloud. The rain was playing
hopscotch with her veins, the cloud was launching pinballs from her lungs. The pinballs
catapulted into my eyes, my eardrums, wedged into the nests of my hair, and I lapped
them up, sliding deliriously into the storm, foisting my umbrella into its gut.
Lauren Russell is the author of the chapbook Dream-Clung, Gone (Brooklyn Arts Press). Her first full-length collection, “What’s Hanging on the Hush,” will be out from Ahsahta in 2017. For more info see http://www.readlauren.com .