I wait for my drink and slip into a fever dream
Evil plagues my funny little soul
the bartender says, except now he’s
the 17th century Mexican poet
Sor. Juana Inez de la Cruz. I know this,
not because he appears to me
in the form of her portrait, her thin lips
moving as crumpled paper, but because
he delivered that line in Sor. Juana’s
original Spanish: Toda en el mal
el alma divertida. I snap back to see
the bartender casting a lustful glance
at the woman next to me. No behavior
for a nun. Shame fills the vessels
throughout my body like a thundercloud
charging with wind and electricity
when I think about what Sor. Juana
would think of me. And then, because
of how shameful and feverish
I am, I feel the need to
vomit. I run to the bathroom,
and inside is Sor. Juana.
She looks at me and says
I also don’t appreciate
how you always compare me
to Virginia Woolf, bitch.
And Also the Time We Mounted a GoPro
Onto My Sister’s Dog
and let him run around Hermann Park.
I watched the movie we pieced from
the footage and as our faces cut
to his roaming through grass that unraveled
into a green fringe, I remembered how movies
always make me feel like I’m always missing
the point, and that what I hate about editing
is cutting footage apart to find moments
when the bodies fit geometrically into the frame.
I also thought about the midnight screening
of that ironically bad movie I went to ironically,
where people turn into blue glowing zombies
when their computers malfunction.
Glowing 14-year-old zombies crept onto the screen
in every third-or-so shot. The final overexposed profile
shot of the main character riding alone on a bicycle
cut into the credits and underlined
that I had come alone. Sometimes when sitting
in the coffee shop alone, I think about the night
I walked home from the metro rail and saw the final flip
of a car turning over and over under a highway
overpass. I am such a bad witness, I think
about my own car crash and how, in my head,
all that’s left now is the punch of the impact,
the white blur of the airbag, and the scratch
that unraveled like a spool of film along my wrist.
Anthony Sutton‘s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Grist, Midwestern Gothic, Passages North, Third Coast, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere.