“Shellacked,” by Jenifer Browne Lawrence

If I step from slick refinished hardwood to concrete
draw the door’s body to its jamb
with a click, down to the grit
where in darkness rows of Camaros
Celicas Impalas drowse like horses
at the foot of the drooping bougainvillea
if I cross the blacktop like a pasture
in which no tuft of grass remains unchewed
where the potholes are tamped gopher mounds
and the scent of ginger rises from planting beds
delicate barb driving me
into the avenue where stars
flicker above the city’s yellow, if I
turn one corner and another
pull the headlight knob
see where I am headed
from belongings and belonging in the just
refinished shine of that upper level flat
its morning light and its evening blossoming
with vagaries of mud and green
not of this country if I step
from the floor too gorgeous
for a man whose ears explode
with screams he believes are not his own
stuck in the damp company of boys turned
men in a war closet stocked with charred fields
chopper blades dead farmers
dreams in the process of reforestation
will I turn to retrace, retract, climb
the concrete steps, unlatch the door
of my body beside the unlatched husband’s
body lie down and draw closed with a click


Printed with permission from Jenifer Browne Lawrence, copyrighted by Jenifer Browne Lawrence @ 2013. This piece originally appeared in Issue No. 15 of the Los Angeles Review.

Author: A Room of Her Own

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