The place in another universe teaching us our lost adolescence in a new alphabet


A.      You brought back
the meaning of place
as kin, as that gathering,
as that where we may
not look alike, but we
know each other
B.      Your kitchen still holds
the girl with Arachne etched
upon her right shoulder,
she stands between the old
soapstone, him, and me
I wanted to be her for his gaze,
for the way he says with his
fingertips, I like your ink
C.      Your fireplace be big
as in real big, as in
big enough for bodies,
as in…well damn, it
heats this room for dancing
D.      It heats that corner where
the lovers hide, it warms the
girl who asks for peacock
feathers in the dark, it be big
enough for the raised-right-here-hog
E.      Somewhere between one
of the kitchens, one of the
living rooms, the dance
is called, the Tryin-Too-Hard-
Girls are puttin on some kinda
show with feather boas, but
that music? Always jumpin,
always jive, live
No CDs
No iTunes
F.       For those who wanna be
seen but watch, or who
wanna watch and maybe
be seen, you have ways,
you have spaces…
G.      That bump out in your
kitchen snuggles that bay
window, catches the cacophony
of voices, holds the wraiths
of past chat, present chat, and
that talk of next alongside
the ghost of Girl-with-
Boots, memba them? She laid
Like a child at naptime, her face
Still there buried in his chest
as the first hello
H.     Your kitchen table keeps
vigil over what was, will be
and the personals. This one
on the lip of an envelope sayin,
Single, with land, with job, no kids.
Children and wife? Yeah,
sure, I’ll try it. Preferably
someone who owns a liquor
store…this one answered for
the way it was so funny
I.        In another part of you, the
loom, in another, us singing
Madonna acoustic just
because. In the yard,
the girl who climbs the tree
for the first time in ever,
years from now she’ll say,
Those hippies were fairies
in the enchanted garden…
they made me do it
J.       Your hall holds endless
food, the smoke from the
bonfires sticks to nose hairs,
hangs on beams like the curing
raised-right-here-hog, dangles
really like the words of the
host, this cucumber smells like
it came from the store
K.      You spun giddy listenin to the
chant of can’t—
I can’t do “e,”
I can’t do acid, I can’t with
the shrooms, pot brownie?
Your gazes always spoke
a magic turnin No to Yes,
or somethin like, Ok, just
a small piece
L.       You become anybody’s
anything teaching taste like
new positions for the tongue,
training the hands of naysayers
sayin, Girl, you don’t cut
a raised-right-here-hog fresh
from fire…do like this, with
your fingers
M.     You brought back
the obsolete meaning
of kindred, as in, We
been doin this before
the universe knew about
any of you
N.      brought it back like it
neva went missing, like
the way your body be…
known, solace. Elixir for
the lonely, looked a lot
like proximity-turned-crush,
a lot like the way a Gandalf
doppelganger you introduced
me to did it for me. No joke.
O.      I keep comin back, practicing
this linguistics, a lot like
disappearing into and out of
him, him, and into holding
patterns of detachment into…
I could just keep coming
back here doing this
P.       If you go,
there are rules,
rules for those who
neva been
1. learn about it
through the mail
as in the snell kind
2. learn about it through
those who been there,
the cashier in the bakery,
the lawyer, the girl-with-
shoulder walking down
the street, they’ll all lean
in and ask, Are you going?
3. Accept, though
you don’t know how
you’ll get there, or
how you’ll get back
4. Go by way of
a house mate’s
car, pay for gas.
Go by way of,
a stolen-but-not
really-stolen truck,
your friend won’t
call the police
Go by way of
the lover-looking-
kind of lover
go by way of the lover-
Go any way you want,
just get there
5. Once there, choose
your room, once there,
put your stuff on the
bed put Taken on the
6. Do this and still run into
the fools found naked in
your room
7. Wake up to Dick Francis
holding the window open
and the hillbilly gentleman
you been with vanished
for his morning coffee
8. Wake up to the fiddle
played by the ugly ass
dude who tries to charm
9. Wake up with an apology
if you were the fool, the naked
fool, who stole the room
the night before
M.     Leaving after the
party doesn’t end
isn’t the point
N.      Get there,
       give yourself over
O.      Be in the space,
        give yourself over
P.      Go to sleep,
                   wake up to…
Q.      or just stay sleep
R.      because leaving after
the party isn’t the point
for here is endless

Shanta Lee Gander