Just as Hate Knows Love’s the Cure
Until recently, I’d never seen an episode of The Sopranos. I’ll wait while you get over the shock, insert this line break and tune into this episode of Nurse Jackie starring Edie Falco’s blond locks, a sort of femme-fatal-Italian-machismo. See a vehement queen hammers her ring finger in order to hide her affairs & Easter Bunny ability to smuggle prescriptions of pinks & blues to snort, chew, & swallow while I placed your peccadillos of primrose yellow narcissus in a vase.
Know through all your joy and pain
/that I’ll be loving you
As a nurse, I’ll never know why your own creeds ignored the Hippocratic Oath. Even in the yellow Tinkerbell nightgown, secrets you kept were well-hidden eggs only parents would find the morning after the hunt. Back then, over coffee & cigarettes, I wish I knew a spell to undo the curse of our malignant friendship. Would it have been as simple as a sprinkle of Roundup® to rid the weeds?
You can rest your mind assured
/that I’ll be loving you
I promise we’ll dance all night at Harpo’s after you snort coke before bingo, even if your throbbing femur prevents standing. I believe the heating pad cured denial & pacified the illusion of a painful period or was it a pulled hamstring as you slept through the night. We’ll still order Steak-n-Shake burgers in drive-thru, slurp what’s southern about sweet tea & silence what’s supreme about secrets while your femur erodes from breast cancer through the night.
Did you know that true love asks for nothing
/her acceptance is the way we pay/
that I’ll be loving you always
The Crevice Under Cig-arrest
To clean the exteriors
the spider-abductor beaks into webs.
This is what the bird,
outside the bedroom,
on the lanai seems to know.
Inside the puff of weed clears.
The weight of life,
as the Hospice nurse visits
the angles of death.
To the bird,
the southern house
a patent position,
inside the capillaries
of its victim.
In the drywall,
hangs like Van Gogh’s
Spider’s never practice
the art of letting go.
The Desperate Housewife Blues
The sifted dust of nuptials falls as lightly as powdered sugar
on beignets onto his starched collars & lapels, as filters of stiff,
ornery grounds of Café du Monde sag in room corners. A Tiffany-blue
litter box of dog collars lies like diamond apology-chokers, &
indiscretions hold hotel receipts the way magnets on the steel face of a fridge
clutch grocery lists for ordained pantry contents. While an aerosol of waist
management boils under an eggshell chandelier, Moulin Rouge lipstick
sharpies the family calendar filled with pushpins tacked
over ecru, cratered walls plastered with the stench of boredom,
Lavender & vanilla Arm & Hammer suffocates the stiletto-strewn carpets.
The wry grins of vacation photos fixate on lint rollers rotten
by mildewed promises as Big Mama Thornton whines love’s got a hold on me,
baby, feels just like a ball & chain deafens the daffodils & African Violets on the sill.
YOLANDA J. FRANKLIN’S work is forthcoming or has appeared in African American Review, Sugar House Review, and Crab Orchard Review’s American South Issue. Her awards include a 2012 and 2014 Cave Canem fellowship, and the 2013 Kingsbury Award at Florida State University. She is the recipient of several writing retreat scholarships, including a summer at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Squaw Valley Community of Writer’s, Postgraduate Writer’s Conference Manuscript Conference at VCFA, the Callaloo Poetry Workshop in Barbados and Colrain’s Poetry Manuscript Workshop. She is also a graduate of Lesley University’s MFA Writing Program and is a PhD student at Florida State University, loves dancing and food tasting.