Tania Rochelle: Two Poems
At the Heaping Bowl and Brew | April 2
At the Heaping Bowl and Brew
The relationship a lowgrade raw
of hangnail, mouthsore, gnaw
of hunger when nothing sounds good to eat,
I've left him speechless at the table,
gotten myself all cracked up
in the ladies' room, the stall door
plastered with ads for laser surgery,
hair extensions, and Barley Visible Bikinis
bikinis, I guess, that lay like golden
grain against the skin, or woven
hemp-like suits, so I imagine rope
burns in sensitive areas,
what kind of salve you'd use.
I'm trying hard to get it, barley visible,
when I realize too much of a barley-hop
combination's made me temporarily dyslexic.
Once again, I'm surprised
by the way reality shifts from moment
to moment: barley becoming barely,
and, last week, okra growing spear-like
off the end of a stalk, not the way I'd pictured
like squash curling on its vine.
A child coming into knowledge,
concept of time, words
locking into sentences; thirty-eight,
I was startled by my neighbor's garden.
Now, heading back to the tableto a man
who, like my own face, often bores me
I'm smiling, with my vision of a lithe
wheat-blond, laser perfect, barley visible.
He's still pouting, but he's buttering my roll.
The architect is building
a treehouse for my children,
tool belt cinched around his soccer shorts,
with no tools in it, save
the green Bic pen, tiny arrow,
hanging from one loop.
I'm just out of the shower,
yes, a little wet, watching
from the bathroom window
as he circles the structure,
rubbing the sudden gray of his temples.
So much of what he does
is calculation: angles, levels,
risk; the thing towers. Our wedding
is tomorrow, the sun already
taking its seat. And this
is what's important. Not his tux, which
still needs fitting; not his friends,
like boys in the woods, calling
and calling; not even his bride-to-be,
her breasts pressed against the glass.
Just this first tall promise he's made.
Tania Rochelle received her MFA from Warren Wilson in 1997. Her work has appeared in Iris, Snake Nation Review, New York Quarterly, Blue Moon Review, and other print and online journals, as well as the anthology Split Verse. She lives near Atlanta with her husband and four children, and teaches writing at Portfolio Center, a school for advertising and design.