RAE LIBERTO

Liminal

The frying pan is in the bathtub again.
My brain only works while laying on my right side.
The sky’s been getting in my eyes and afternoon looks like late morning here.

The timelessness is sickening.

I keep track of the days by counting my dirty socks.
I put them in the bathtub too.

There is a drought here so I wash my plums in the bathtub,
also the water is brackish from laundering.

It’s Thursday afternoon.
There is dryness here and my skin is a thirsty desert.

I use black bath water to mop the floor.

This is a city surrounded by water and cloud smoke but
there is not rain and they say it’s a drought.

Every neighborhood is a different shade of beige.

I see a metallic purple bra strap slide down her rail arms.
She is impossibly slippery and sheer like lace and ice.

The sun is out today and the whole place is pale.
She crosses her arms and returns the strap to her shoulder
like she was cold, like I wouldn’t see.

All the Wrong Vowels

I ashed the joint
I found on her coffee table on the lighter
I also found on her coffee table before
I slipped both into my coat pocket.

I like using ash as a verb.

I wonder if
I should start using grass as a verb, or an adjective.
I feel grassy, or hold my coat while
I grass.

I balance myself with one pinky finger on the banister of the stairs.
I am grassed and feeling capable. Hold my coat while
I back flip.

She likes my hair, the dyke behind the bar.
She pours me whiskey.
She brings me fernet.
She gives me $5 for the jukebox.
She says, fernet about it.

I put on Janet Jackson’s Greatest Hits.
I write in my notebook the lyrics to “What Have You Done for Me Lately.”
I use all the wrong vowels.
I think I wrote a poem.

 

Rae Liberto is a queer poet and nurse living in Oakland, California. Rae’s poems have been featured in Broad! Magazine and forthcoming in Lavender Review and Sinister Wisdom.