Tara Orzolek The mess that was left on the table, after I asked for forgiveness

Lives were being ruined and few hands were raised in help.

If there’s a disaster I’ll hasten it. If there’s loose change

I’ll steal it. I got caught on the loitering, the sly soliciting

of my neighbor’s heart, my enemy’s soul. I got caught

when I made a report instead of a slogan. When I wore

the witch costume on an escalator toward redemption,

gambling on near-invisible odds that my teeth would be

whitened and that would be that. I got caught when I slayed

fictional dragons, when I slanted in both directions at once.

The cave factory was open and I shut it against orders.

I never liked Rothko or dog photos. I broke the wishbone

and tried to tape it back together but the transparency

gave me away. It was imbued with centuries of dust that

I swallowed and spit, hence the mess. I am deaf

and/or tone-deaf on any given day, stunned senseless

by the disparity of uniformity, by the awkward cadence

of a post-rhythmic world. The gravitas of the sun overwhelms

me and exposes my motives in shadow. Too many are afraid

of the nebulae. Too many are wiretapping the slow narrative

of our cells. Too many will slot the handwritten apology

into a file of its own, which might as well be trash,

which is both the crime and how I got away with it.

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