Spoken Word: 2 Poems by Marisa Silva-Dunbar
I’ve seen ghost towns in their eyes
She wrote about traveling through Europe,
sent pictures of her pink high heels,
and her new friends with tight smiles.
(I wondered if they had just met the real her.)
She likes to collect looks from strangers
(but they better not stare at you),
smirks when their eyes linger on her bare legs.
She’s still trying to get over the guitarist
who loved cocaine more than he loved her.
Though he liked the way she’d drape
herself over him in public (and that she let him fuck
her with the door open when her roommates were home).
He was smart (like her (mostly absent) father),
she would ask him to muse about Proust, and play songs
at dinner parties—he was better than the other boyfriends.
He left after she wanted him to shine up and be her arm candy.
At twenty we stole cake from the neighbor boys.
We laughed when the red frosting stuck to our fingertips.
In the dingy kitchen she’d put on the radio and we’d dance
around snapping towels at each other’s backsides.
It’s a looped memory. Things fall apart, second string boys
swim between us. I wanted to be like Ava and Lana,
who shared more than cigarettes and lipstick.
I’ve heard she’s forgotten about him,
just missed the way he’d hold her hand
when the other boys were out of town.
I saw her in a crowded café with her new man,
she was already getting bored,
looking for someone to tell her they like
the curve of her hips, and that: yes, you’re prettier than the one before.
The color you remember being
was vibrant and rich—
the inside of an ember,
saturated like the bright sandstone
earth of Sedona after
a long awaited rain.
The shocking smoothness
of the mercurochrome
you would pour on your belly
when infection set in a week after piercing.
You wanted to grow into a blood orange—
contain the sunniness of the rind,
and the dark crimson flesh that seemed
deep enough to drown in.
And here you are:
a faded watercolor gray,
like after an artist uses droplets
to lift the paint—erase a mistake.