My Bed Is a Vehicle

My Bed Is a Vehicle


I used the wrong shampoo for years.
My mom watched infomercials all night
with the telephone in her hand,
finger hovering over the call button.
I locked myself in the pink-tile bathroom
one night
and made portraits out of the hair I’d shed.
Through the thin wooden door,
I could hear her order
a set of posture-correcting slippers.
I looked up into the mirror,
licked away the dryness on my lips,

This bed is mine for now.
This floor’s clutter belongs to me.
In third grade,
when chided for French kissing,
Angie S. cried out
Love conquers all
as if she had just come up with it.
Love and rest are the only things
that have survived the millennia
of human civilization.
Well, that and farming irrigation techniques
from ancient Egypt.

My mom spells everything in capital letters.
I edit her emails from her bed.
She spells it all wrong—KYROH
She has even given herself a new name
in the new country.
All uppercase.

We spend our whole lives going
to each other’s rooms and then back
to our own.
I was on my way back
from Angelo’s room,
which is just above a gay bar
which was once a butcher’s.

I could see myself
behind a woman fixing her headscarf in
a car window’s reflection.
She must have been someone’s mom, on her way
back home.

I can see everything from my window.
The children’s choir of cicadas sings
the national anthem on the lawn.
The bus drops off
new shivering passengers every hour,
on the hour.

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