by Nicole Santalucia
I learned how to fly
so that you could see me hover over Manhattan
dropping cheeseburgers like bombs.
I aim for West 88th Street
between Broadway and West End Ave.
Grease splatters on your windows
and the meat is bouncing off rooftops.
The birds are at war,
let them win.
Now climb down from the tree
those branches need to grow.
Come down from there
and stop acting.
Your audience is human,
the sky above this island
has emptied itself for you.
There are lesbians wearing their grandmother’s wedding dresses. America, why do I want to kiss your belly? This desire feels incestuous. America, I’m listening to Christmas music in July and frying your chicken. I’m hungry, standing in the banana aisle at the grocery store, pretending to pick up the lemons that fell so I can get a better look at my teacher’s legs; she shops here too. America, of course I am going to be a poet. I drank all your beer before I turned nine. America, your kids smell like mustard and hotdogs. Please keep them on a leash. America, there is no more room for any more elephants. America, when I find out I am pregnant, we’ll celebrate, and we’ll find a cure for your allergies. America, I went to the doctor and he said the glaciers are melting in Juno, Alaska, and I’m worried we may be stuck here forever, where people are dying. America, I will cover you in plastic and get Walt Whitman to let us on his ferry. America, get out of bed, all of this is happening and I just want to be left alone. America, your leather belt is too tight and your ass looks sexy in those pants. America, I’ve inherited my grandfather’s shotguns, thanks to you.
The Cannoli Machine at the Brooklyn Detention Center
The cannoli machine in the Brooklyn detention center is for the visitors
my dad waited in line when he went to visit my brother
he didn’t know he’d have to empty his pockets
take off his pinky ring and untie his shoes
This is the first time I saw my father afraid
but he wasn’t too afraid to stand in line with all the other fathers
in front of the cannoli machine
he ate two or three and noticed a little white cream filling on his cheek
when he saw himself on the surveillance camera
he noticed that his white t-shirt was washed too many times
and was starting to turn grey
that his socks didn’t match
I didn’t know this was how fathers were made
Nicole Santalucia is currently working toward her Ph.D. in English with a concentration in poetry at Binghamton University and she is the Poetry Editor of Harpur Palate.