GREETINGS FROM GROSS POINT ROAD
Human-sized delivery tubes, bending robots, suicide phonebooths: New New York
was where my brother and I resided that summer, and not our Skokie homestead.
Hands down, the best voicemail I ever got was freshman year—my mother’s message:
Hi, honey! I got you new rainboots. And if your father’s found, he’ll be arrested.
She lives in an empty nest built not of branches but foreclosure’s cardboard boxes.
Far from the Great Lakes, the East Coast’s ivory towers become our roadstead.
A fast glance at Google Maps reveals that outside, the house’s siding remains slate.
Unseen, the walls are painted pastel yellow inside the room where I was molested.
While I lived inside my mother, Tzvi’s the dear name my parents crooned at me.
Surprised by my sex, they dubbed me just as unfamiliar: mine means tree instead.
THE PATERNAL CIRCUS
Hear the snoring crowd of sleep apneatics
gasping awake, the arguing out-of-work lawyers,
thudding and thundering
as they make their out-of-shape way
to their seats. Among them,
brother and I gape, eager eyed at
grand ringmaster dad
in his crushed velvet top hat,
trapeze swinging highwire dadcrobats
and fat elephant dads sadly paraded
corpse heavy hang
led in slow circles,
Feel the crunch
of amputated toes
and peanut shells, crushed.
Sit beneath the technicolor tent,
a patchwork mix
black cotton socks
and polo shirt pockets.
Hear the POP!
corn get your POP!
corn!/can I get
our dad, dragged
made to dance
for all the ladies aaaaand
aaaaand girls! children
of aaaaaaaaaaaalll ages! him chief among them
and for his efforts, they gave our old man
rainbow shellacked sugar
and he gave it to us. Brother
and I bite and bite
into either side
white plastic spine.
Elana Friedland is a poet and theatre artist. Originally from the Midwest, she currently lives in Boston. She will soon head to the University of Colorado at Boulder to pursue an MFA in poetry. Her writing has previously appeared in Broad! and the Jewish Journal.