CA Feb 2

Standing the Test of Time (A How To Guide)

Lessen, voluptuous feathers.
Fold up fanwise, hide
behind your sisters, single
file now. That pipedream
you insist on parading
does not become you.
That crystal castle unfolding through
the smoke from the ground
-fire in the path of your exile
does not become you.
These desks, these bus seats,
these pews are all reserved;
you best stand idly by. Over there
is a reservoir of know-how
for you to dip your feet into. Well,
why are you just standing there?
Don’t you have anything prudent
to wear or practical to do?
Shame on you and your abuse
of confessionals and shrink
booths. This “I” you fancy
as mountain water rioting
into the watershed, has this “I”
been Pope-blessed? Has it
fathomed the ten-thousand things
that could happen to a girl
en route from Chiapas
to El Paso, from this bar
to your apartment? Are you sure
you don’t want a ride?
What’s wrong, aren’t you
noose-shy? Are you not scared
to die? Here, let me help
you get a little more bang
for your buck. Let daddy
help you into those handcuffs.
Does yr man purse like that?
Does yr wallet like living
off my tips, dyke? Are you sure
you can make it to the border
by midnight, pumpkin?
Don’t forget who bought you
that nice glass slipper
you walked away from.
Is your skill set even marketable?
In fifty years will your feet still feel
like waiting tables?
What if your knees go
brittle with age and can’t
genuflect? What god will
want you then?


*The phrase “mountain water rioting into the watershed” is taken from Tessa Rumsey’s poem, “Fantasy Coat.”



Adrian Silbernagel’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals including Painted Bride Quarterly, TYPO Magazine, The Atlas Review, The Columbia Review, JuxtaProse Literary Magazine, and others. Visit Adrian’s website.