molded to the arm rests, his legs crossed with age
like peeling vinyl. He had always been there,
from what I could remember, and I’d never seen
his frame in action. The words he spoke were gospels,
breathed from a life of gusto. I could see the nose hair
from across the room, white and gentle, sprouting
from the end of his nose, and always in motion.
It sank with his skin, mourning the loss of a life well lived,
proud of the generations it had seen come to pass.
I dreamed of plucking it free with my bare hands,
keeping it in a vase beneath my bed, feeding it war stories
and tales of youth it no longer devoured. I dreamed
of touching it lightly, still attached to the seam of his skin,
unzipping his nose and having tea with his brain.
I trusted him with the gospel, with the education
of what humanity should look like. I trusted him to teach me
how to grow my own nose hair, to sprout gospels from within.
Through a crack in the door, I saw him standing
at the bathroom sink, motion lingering in his long skin.
He admired himself, checked his teeth for hidden wisdom,
then plucked the white curl from the end of his nose
discarding it as if it were dust.
Please Do Not Touch the Projector
My hands smell like sour dough because I am making
sourdough bread, or unmaking, I should say, because the dough
is too sour and it is not shaped like bread, but rather like
a bird flat in the road. I babysit outside the park
because I like to sit and listen to the wind sing, but all I can
hear are the children screaming and screaming about the plan
or lack thereof and pickleball. I do not know what pickleball
is and frankly, neither do they so the screaming keeps until I feed them
answers like medicine, down swift and painful, and now
they do not see me as an adult. I am not an adult. I cannot bake
bread or talk to children or love the way people want me to. I am a girl
with unmade bread, unkempt hair, and a distrust for children
that I have been told is a feeling projected about myself.
I am not a girl, but a projector sitting on the floor of a room with dust
collecting on my shoulders and FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY sign
covering one of my eyes. I have worn this sticker my whole life. No one
minds that it is yellowed and not all that sticky anymore. They use me.
They use me to watch themselves grow old, to watch their children when
they do not want their children, to watch the way I only play
one movie over and over and over until the plot doesn’t make
sense and the words sound like translations.
My hands are still here smelling like sour dough and I scrub them
until they smell like hands. Hands and soap and sour dough residue.
I will watch them scrub themselves until I feel them
watching me, watching them.
McLeod Logue is an MFA candidate and poet at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, her work is influenced by her family’s fine art, southern roots, and attachment to location. Her poetry has appeared in Passenger's Journal.