twenty-one truths & a lie

i have a recurring nightmare:

            bodies sheathed in fog

            slap against my slick car

 

i study strangers’ faces

            hopeful they will occupy

            the watery figures of my dreams

 

i have many qualities of an absolute ruler, but above all:

            glut

 

i once knew a parrot that lived in a funeral home

            it perched by the phone and said brrring! brrring! kenosha funeral home

            it perched by the phone and said shut the fuck up i’m trying to sleep

 

i wish i was the color of patina

 

i think red suns are a bad omen

            i’ve only seen one: the radio said it was because a forest

            burned in canada: but the gunfire came peppery and bright

 

i look at landscapes and cathedrals

            for a long time

            deciding which

            is which

 

i imagine the deaths of those i love

            occurring in at least five different ways

 

i was twenty-three and eating an apple

            when i realized i was naked

 

i prefer being the artist over the work of art

            but i admit to having second thoughts

 

i have another recurring nightmare:

            a boy holds out an open hand

            worms waver in the fleshy dirt

            of his palm like a second set of

            fingers

 

i have known at least three

            misguided saints

            who did not deliver

            me safely to my bed

 

i see a street light

            but hear slow gin fizz

 

i firmly believe i was dangerous

            once

 

i find the world never knowing a day

            without grief

            a comfort

 

i put more stock in bone-house

            than body

 

i heard once that error in latin means

            wandering about

            so i erred and erred and erred

 

i never asked for forgiveness

            for kissing a stranger goodbye

            because it didn’t feel like a goodbye kiss

 

i make a habit of jumping off cheekbones

            that remind me of cliffs

 

i think the sentence if you stay i’ll have sex with you

            is about as neat as a spoon

            in a garbage disposal

            but i have heard it before

            and i have stayed

 

i watched a woman ice a cake on a subway for eleven minutes

 

i never figured out what is worth lying about

Alexandria Petrassi studies poetry in the MFA program at George Mason University. She works as the Assistant Editor at So to Speak, the Editor-in-Chief of Floodmark, and a Digital Communications consultant. Her work has appeared in Sweet Tree Review, The Seldom Review, on The American Writer’s Museum’s blog, and on Stillhouse Press’s blog, Moonshine Murmurs. You can find her on Instagram @alexandriapetra.

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