tidying idea

caroline ganci patterson

half of the story i was telling had a moral about perversion, but i leave that part out
for the saccharine tongue lickers. i say to my mother, the price of gas 

on the west coast is an effective deterrent. i say to my mother, why do you
keep on living here? here being the cluster of maples and not the new tar. 

the suburbs just another generational fashioning. my mother was afraid
of the ocean only once. my mother is often bitten by mosquitoes. 

my mother locks the doors and windows with sawn off broom handles.
on the fridge, a demand to bring a chair to the pig roast. my mother 

dislikes our neighbor’s wife for how she responds to his mistreatment.
the perversion was that i had never both loved and trusted. i specifically 

do not tell my mother this. i tell her, i was thinking of hands. the firefly

gutter. the monarchs’ milkweed addiction. i’ll pick up the pizza on the way home. 

thank you for the body pillow when i was young and its incentive to leave

my lover. you don’t have to grow tomatoes. i left water in the car. it’s warm now. 

caroline ganci patterson is a genderfluid suburban-american poet, sexually repressed, and owns a turtleneck in every color, except yellow. they have won the eleanor denoon poetry prize, the greta wrolstad travel award, and they are a recipient of the kratz summer writing fellowship. their work is published or forthcoming in The Columbia Review, Bullshit Lit, Allium, Little Patuxent Review, and more. they are currently pursuing an MFA at the university of montana in poetry. they reside in missoula, montana, and live in a green house. 

Artwork: “ColorDekapende” by Cynthia Yatchman

Alcohol inks

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