Collection

I started collecting bottles,
collecting them from kitchen countertops,
the table in front of the TV in the living room,
the top shelf in the pantry you thought that I couldn’t reach (or didn't see)
and I hung them outside
on the outstretched palms of a crooked tangerine tree
the one on the corner of Thornapple and Brown,
behind the Vine’s old compost pile.
 
The types of the grapes sounded so pretty as I said them out loud
Bordeaux,
Cabernet Sauvignon,
the bottles had names lovely as my older sister, Amee
(in her first coat of red lipstick and
cat eye sunglasses
when she started smiling at boys)
like Santa Rita,
Foxglove,
Smoking Loon.
 
I hung them with twine around each fingertip of green,
of spring and
they held.
Clinging onto each knotted chamber of tree-spine,
I watched the rainwater dripping into each mouth
hitting the bottom of the glass
with an accapella lilt light as your hair
now marilyn blonde since
dad left
last October in a pickup
(the pickup he would drum Bruce Springsteen to on the wheel
calling me Cynthia dear, out of tune over his
shoulder)
and I would sing it too, sing it sometimes even now
without him,
picking a stick up from the compost
to drag along glass bottle throats
(though I never knew all the words,
only the way he formed Cynthia with his lips).
 
When you left your Walgreen receipts out,
checking to see how many of the bottles you bought were missing,
I collected those too,
at first writing my favorite lines
from my favorite authors
like Francesca Lia Block,
and Sharon Olds, and Hemingway,
and Dr. Seuss
on to the back of each one,
scribbling until Dr. Seuss’ “Just tell yourself, Duckie, you’re really quite lucky”
looked too much like,
I love you.
 
and Block’s “She said to him, you are in my blood, we can’t help it”
looked too much like,
I hate you.
 
and Hemingway’s “the boy was back now with a bag of sardines and the two baits wrapped in a newspaper”
looked too much like,
I want you to stop hurting yourself.
 
scribble-etching until finally the 12th of June in which I wrote nothing but happily ever
happily ever after
happily ever after
happily ever after
happily ever after
happily ever after
happily ever after
happily ever after
happily ever after
happily ever after
happily ever after
happily ever after
happily ever after
over and over on one receipt until I ran out of room.
 
When I was done encoding, I wrapped the receipts up tight
smoothing their scrolls down into
chiming long necks of glass
 
26 bottle throats
laced on Tangerine wrists
that first half of June,
tied with 26 twine knots
which never before looked so much like
nooses.

Through the 3rd Eye was supported in its inception by the Grand Rapids Humanities Council and is currently made possible by continued volunteer effort and private support. Copyright 2013.