On the footsore motel TV,
lyrebirds reflect chainsaws
from a whitewash of tassel ferns,
claiming sanctuary in mine shafts
to wait out cancers of bushfire.
Her bones are soiled, unwashed:
a vivarium of lilac pin-up curls,
inkwell odes to the musical boys
she left behind in locker rooms
and on boiling Polish trains.
His echo is anchored, skin-deep,
resounding an ashless marcato,
cherry-bomb thunder on fossilstone.
He unchains his blue-eyed breakables
from the knotted arabesques.
She rations her shopworn relics,
from the crackle of her cardinal mouth
to nomadic blisters on garnished feet:
a rootless rosemary Ophelia,
spinning columbines from filiform.
The contused bedside console
whines beneath the wilting weight
of toasted breadline cigarillos
as songbirds simulate car alarms,
embezzling courtship canto.
Another Easter spent
feasting on Jelly Bean Martinis,
sculpting butter lambs
with Nana’s mastiff Escort
snoring by tabletop fire.
Aunt Bea smoked lemongrass,
shading wooden eggs
with Dappled Willow shrubs.
A whimsical Slovakian cousin
suggested we whip each other with willow rods,
sprinkle ice-choked water on the women,
then blacked out on the buffalo grass
after sneaking three Peeptinis,
two Blushing Scots, half a pitcher
of Nana’s Tea Party Two-Punch.
Aunt Harley arrived in a felt foxglove bonnet
laced with tender golden ribbons,
not for a moment distracting from
those swollen, swindled lips.
Papa Bear worked the washy den
in a plush paisley bowtie,
decoding poached pagan relics,
every fairy tale tradition
from Pancake Tuesday
to Passion Plays,
straw doll Judas bonfires
to pitching pottery
off olive wood balconettes.
Cousin Kaylee supplied
the wildwood rabbit salad,
spangled with golden raisins,
blossom bread pulled into dandelions.
Cousin Ray dispensed
the Roasted Cacao bunnies
and flattened pennies
from a Gator World pit stop,
raving on about the Timberwolves,
the Raptors, the Jazz.
The triplets tore into jute-twined baskets
stuffed with chiffon peony barrettes,
Minnie Mouse compacts and combs,
microscopic backstitched Bibles
beforehand highlighted, honed.
Megan Denese Mealor is a double Pushcart Prize nominee. Her work has been featured in numerous journals, most recently The Furious Gazelle, Rumble Fish, IO Lit Journal, and Chantwood Magazine. She has two forthcoming poetry collections: Bipolar Lexicon (Unsolicited Press) and Blatherskite (Clare Songbirds House Publishing). Diagnosed with bipolar disorder in her teens, Megan’s mission is to inspire others stigmatized for their mental health. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her partner of six years, their four-year-old son, and two mollycoddled cats. She enjoys alligators, astrology, and secret gardens.