As full as a refrigerator on pay day.
My nights are packed with dreams.
Jam-packed as a husband-leaving suitcase.
And did I leave him or dream I left him?
I dream of a red room and wake to a blue room.
In the blue room a man is offering me a $30,000 diamond ring.
His bare ankles poke out of the ends of his pants.
Wear some socks, I say, looking down at my own bare ankles.
Like a small tree strung with too many wind chimes
my false hope drags a screwy music through the neighborhood.
A neighborhood on the decline.
My house teetering on an incline.
I’m bursting with femaleness
like a decapitated saint whose throat spews light the color of straw.
I know I’m female.
In the nursery they put a sad bow in my hair.
I gathered evidence of my girlhood
like a recluse obsessed with berry-picking.
Look at my apron, stained purple.
My empty tin bucket, my purple lips,
purple shits, like the shits of a bear in late spring.
Sadness overruns me.
I’m bee balm, a swarm at my center.
Pollen heavy on the wires of their back legs.
Like gold velvet pantaloons.
I am the Xerox boy
tackling the biggest copy job in the history of copy jobs.
Reproducing original sadness,
toner cartridge running low.
When asked at the ticket office what I am,
I can only answer I am what is speaking this.
Or its homonym. Or its sobbing antonym.
Diane Seuss’s most recent collection of poems, Four-Legged Girl, is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2015. Her second book, Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open, won the Juniper Prize for Poetry and was published by the University of Massachusetts Press in 2010. A poem that originally appeared in Blackbird received a Pushcart Prize in 2013, and Seuss’s poem “Free Beer” was selected by guest editor Terrance Hayes for the 2014 Best American Poetry anthology. Seuss is Writer in Residence at Kalamazoo College.