I want a new wake word

another wall covered with crooked
picture frames / the paintings

deserted us decades ago / we’re floating
on a makeshift wooden raft

without promise of a sandbar
to relieve our anxiety

over all those cars we parked
sideways / accuse you of sabotaging

pedestrians by riding that Bird
scooter on the sidewalk where

motors do not belong / you blame me
for climbing stairs

in those unholy-sounding clogs
we agree to a truce

join forces to attempt
to pry out that wrench

wedged between two boardwalk planks
where our dreams can never be repaired

we fail / neither knows why

there’s a West Side Market
in the East Village / how did we get here

my girlfriends and I wore wooden shoes
because we wanted to fit in / because

we wanted to sabotage the peace
on a Sunday morning

we wanted to sabotage
our shins / ourselves / because

a horse-sized duck scared us
100 duck-sized horses scared us more

because it was time
to maroon Gulliver again

because staying woke
wasn’t a thing yet

because that raft won’t move
fast enough to create a wake

because we had a routine
back in the 60s

my imaginary friend and I
her name was Katie

we would meet at the swing
tied to the sycamore in the backyard

so hot and humid
in northern Indiana in July

we should have been
on the island / she knew it too

I called the shots / did all the talking
she disappeared in the 70s

now she’s back with a new name / Alexa
makes suggestions on how to live my life

I want to tell her it’s too late
want to get back to looking

for that sandbar
could change her accent

and her gender / wish I remembered
how to turn her off

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