Ventriloquy

If she’s really letting me

speak

for the first time, I don’t know
where to begin. All those stories
about drawing pictures
in the moonmilk
inside ancient caves and rods
taking longer than cones
to adjust to the dark. That’s not how

I would talk. I don’t have a lisp
or thick Minnesota accent, or
New England one. I will sing
quietly about iron
rail bridges and natural rock
formations and the view
from the top. That’s

exactly what I will do if
she’s for real this time.

Census Blanks

Rebellion in long black
boots and Paper Mate flare
ink. Are those hearts 

on the cap clip—a branding
she wouldn’t trust? Never
bother with a steady pace. No grace 

in her stride toward another
pair of male arms. It hurts her
more than they would imagine. 

One person household, an apartment
number she recites
over the noise of a question 

about a parking voucher
she’s entitled to. She’ll answer
the next one—tightlipped for now.