“Carla Seravalli is a recent graduate from Lincoln East High School and will be studying English at the University of Iowa in the fall. She is a pisces”
The air conditioner hums
the steady pulse of music in an 80’s slasher film.
And in the black tablecloth behind bush leaves
are cicadas, their distant rubbing.
It is August. The sky
never fully darkens.
From within slick bathroom walls, she sits
with her head in her hands.
From the plastic stick came the little pink plus.
She smooths out her dress. The rest,
as they say, is chemical reaction. Each tick
of the watch a wooden prophecy.
Well, this year’s marigolds are starting
to brown. Screen door’s on its last hinges.
From above, the moon waits, still.
She is allowed to recede.
Her lips curve
into a knowing smile.
“The Memory Box”
We found it in the parking lot the morning after
the last football game. First, the band kids saw it.
But no one believed them, and so then
they all came– in groups, packs,
and gathered in a circle around the source of the green light.
Their faces frozen in its glare, eyes dull. Feeble
ingredients to a witch’s brew.
Somebody dared Ricky, who could out-drink anyone,
to go touch it, and the bastard went
and picked it up, before shuddering
and dropping to the ground.
Then we saw it. A cube with six
tiny television screens as sides,
each image that floated past
a hollow knife, tearing out the seams
of that which held together
its holder. We told
no one. Dispersed like mice, or like kids
after graduation. But for now, we all went home,
laid down & stared at our bedroom ceilings.
We had tried to reach out, to touch the glass
of whatever water flowed through us,
whatever past we’d claimed to be married to,
destined to pretend.
“On Seeing My Sister’s Apartment for the First Time”
Together, we push
the green chair
through the door that says
305. Something about
survival. The walls, carpet bare.
The jar of cigarette butts on the painted
chest that doubles
as a coffee table. I offer her
my Christmas lights; say I have
an extra set,
which is a lie. This must be
why people get married, I think.
From the nest, we are catapulted. Atoms
smashing together. Gravity
accumulates, erodes. A hole appears.
the fissures in the tissue paper,
call the marks on the wall ivy. And when
we see a street magician:
Thank God there is a name
for what is missing. And so
the ceremony. Look, we say,
a cocoon shell, a rebirth, a glove!
Just like glue!
She tells me, earlier, I don’t think
anyone knows what I’m going through.
the packed rack
of shoes, the pages
thinning like petals, trembling