When I was a girl I dreamed of a boy;
he climbed the forbidden fence to stab his father.

I was knife, somehow chosen to accompany,
chaperone a gruesome stabbing that led to death.

Today, I am the last to leave my hard seat at the patio table,
though the tornado siren blooms, the rain

already speckling the page. Even the man
who's become my quiet competition rolls his magazine,

gives in. Says, the last time a tornado came through,
it blew my roof off.
I want to stay to watch the rain

break to pieces upon hitting the asphalt. I want
to watch the drenched infant crying

murder from his zooming stroller as his parents race
laughing to their car, performing some romantic scene.

I like to peel a layer off my nails like mica,
and I like to keep them painted the color of mica.

Sloan wore hers that way in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
I think I wanted to be her pretty heart face, to kiss

Ferris Bueller fully inside the lips
before he jumped over the privacy fence.

Things I am ignoring:
the pain in my right hand,

the pain in my right hip, my hair needing washing,
the creeping spider veins,

the girls on the other side of the glass,
the conversation about the rain,

the dog bowl left under the table,
the dog who won't die of thirst.

Things you are ignoring:
another black life swallowed by the police.

The first father gave me up. I was a slippy sea bass.
The thing crawling on his skin

was microscopic, yet made his knuckle
itch, his palm lines hungry for my mother's hair.

In spring, azalea caterpillars infested the azaleas.
I've outlasted the tornado.