Found Object

Somebody left this white T-shirt
like a hangman’s hood on the new parking meter—
the magic marks upon its back say: I QUIT METH 4-EVER.
A declaration to the sky, whose angels all wear seagull wings
swooping over this street with its torn scratch tickets
and Big Gulp cups dropped by the curb.

Extra large, it has been customized
with a pocketknife or a canine tooth
to rough the armholes where my boobs wobble out
as I roam these rooms lit by twilight’s bulb,
feeling half like Bette Davis in a wheelchair
and half like that Hell’s Angels kingpin with the tracheotomy.

Dear reader, do you know that guy?
I didn’t think so. If only we could all watch the same TV.
But no doubt you have seen the gulls flying,
and also the sinister bulked-up crows
carrying white clouds of hotdog buns in their beaks:
you can promise them you’ll straighten up, but they are such big cynics.

I should have told you My lotto #’s 2-11-19-23-36
is what’s written in front, beside the silk screen
for Listerine Cool Mint PocketPaks™—
which means you can’t hijack my name;
no, you have to go find your own, like a Hopi brave.
You might have to sit in a sweat lodge until you pass out

or eat a weird vine and it will not be pleasant. Your pulse
goes staccato like a Teletype machine— then blam
you’ll be transformed into your post-larval being.
Maybe swallowtail, maybe moth: trust me, I know
because once I was a baby blue convertible
but now I’m this black hot rod painted with flames.

Lucia Perillo, “Found Object” from Inseminating the Elephant. Copyright © 2009 by Lucia Perillo. Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press.
Source: Inseminating the Elephant (Copper Canyon Press, 2009)
More Poems by Lucia Perillo