Someone thought this was a good idea,
a narrow splinter of land poking into
a man-made lake. It’s as if we’ve stumbled
onto a movie set, where everything’s built
to one-quarter scale, the spit only ten feet wide.
Someone thought a twelve-foot toy lighthouse
was the perfect finishing touch to the eerie symmetry.
It could be made of fiberglass and Astroturf.
You lead me to a clean metal bench, my body
hunched around the hangover I’m cradling like
a fussy baby. We sit in silence until we notice
the shush of waves at our feet, my nose squashed
against your shoulder as I fight off sleep.
If this spit were real, even the puny tides
of the lake would have washed it away
in less than a year, the pressboard lighthouse
crumpled like a sand castle.
Out here, you tell me,
we are easy prey for zombies.
One must plan one’s escape routes
carefully, and we have none. The great
mystery of zombies, you say, stroking my hair,
is their voracious appetites. They must eat,
but they’re never satisfied; they cannot
taste, enjoy, or digest. Zombies
are not very smart. If you and I were real,
if your shoulder were always here
for me to sleep on, we would have been
eaten alive or eroded away so long ago
we wouldn’t remember it now.
Lawn and Garden
A pile of watering cans, green plastic
and clanky metal, flats of petunias,
floppy pink blooms, stacked bags
of fertilizer, bark mulch poking
through plastic sacks, strong-arming
you with pine scent. I drop
the garden hose, nozzle clanking
on the steaming concrete.
No one around to spray.
No one thinks about planting
when the plants in the ground already
wither in the scorching heat.
In Bible times, long-haired prophets
with sandals heard voices
in bushes. Heat meant something.
God bolted the rain clouds
in his cloud barn when the chosen people
acted up, waited for someone to come along
and remind his wayward ones which way
was up. I pick up the Frisbee, hard plastic
gouged and snaggle-toothed.
No one to play with.
I curl my arm in, then out,
release it wobbling white and spinning
into the shadows past the pruning shears –
it must be cooler over there. Mysteries
gather in the darkness. Water droplets
drying on a clay flowerpot, furry leaves
of an African violet. A cathedral would look
like this, I think, except the trees and flats
of flowers would be the congregation.
Feed us, water us. I administer
all the holy stuff, the rites and sacraments.
I am their prophet, priest, and king.
I throw the Frisbee again, and a palm tree
bows toward it.
Ashley Wells grew up in Texas, did her MFA in poetry at
Emerson College in Boston, and now lives in Brooklyn. Ashley’s
work has previously appeared in Poet Lore and she was a poetry
reader for Fringe magazine.