by Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad

Kevin

He learns the hollows of my ways
by the schedule of the money I give him,
like any pitted fruit, I make it easy, pull items
from the basket to the counter, and then he calculates,
remembers eyes collapsed during ovulation;
knows the way I live, when I buy dinners,
tin-covered olives, tepid soup, oiled crisps I plunge
into daffodil sauces, sometimes right before midnight;
he knows also when I try, donates a careful smile
when he retrieves vitamins and face masks
from the hallowed mercy of my palms,
and I give the same, uncoiling as I temper
my expression lines, especially if his day has been unkind,
offer an undertone of reception; with boxes of tissues,
whether or not on sale, sponges and disinfectants,
he is unsure, but still adds my points
and marks it good news, I will save five dollars
on my next purchase; I pay the pharmacist
at the opposite end, but I bring to him caffeine,
nude stockings, nail polish number five,
he undoes pieces from the medley,
like disentangling vines to harvest tomatoes;
he counts my change the way he scans
the empty of my hours, the box of hair dye
he places in the bag; this third week he knows
my roots do not imitate the umbrella left open
for my head; tomorrow, I want to say I am sorry,
for burying my scalp in this hearthstone shade,
for strangling the unharmed and small,
mixing cream and color to match the stems
hanging from each side of my face,
brown and flowerless, like the season never came

– – – – – 

merhnoosh torbatnejadMehrnoosh Torbatnejad was born and raised in New York. Her poetry has appeared in The Missing Slate, Passages North, HEArt Journal Online, Chiron Review, and is forthcoming in Natural Bridge and Pinch Journal. She currently lives in New York and practices matrimonial law.

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