Hot Take. | Grandfather. | + Brita. by Josephine Gawtry

Here’s my hot
take that isn’t
a hot take.
My mom

            Her phalanx
            of textbooks
            Her maelstrom
            of alpaca yarn

Her bevy of
perfume flew
Into my room
an unkindness

            Her desk always
            bloated with jewelry
            her casserole: vulgar

her Byzantium beet mouth
militia of bared teeth

            I miss her
            The stink

Her empty
Her wet eye

            Her garden of cassowaries
            All their necks broken

I am trying to escape, trying to
have a porch and babies, trying to
figure out whether or not it’s polite to ask
If an inch of rain is negligible.
I am mirroring my ex-boyfriend and he’s falling apart
like a pileup of ants. Like a chicken slinking around
like a cat. I believe in the American dream
but not Etsy spells or my slaughtered grandfather.
Once you notice the amount of garbage
on the roadside, there’s no going back.
I am not
Ali Baba. I am not Jenny Holzer.
My grandfather doesn’t care about me, but
he sent me a message in the thrum of a titmouse
telling me to do anything I can to regain control
of this situation. For twenty years my grandfather
was a border control officer. On the weekends
He went through litter. He taught me to accumulate
my treasure and my refuse. He kept it in his big chest.

The reason I want a boyfriend is to
choke him with bees or some purified water

from my Brita or my own throat unchoked
I’m living unchecked and it’s just unhealthy

to hold a pigeon on 79th and Park and bring it
whenever I play some game like soccer or worse

a jellyfish dancing and heartless, brainless, talking
in pidgin somewhere to the boy who I’ll eventually hold

down like he’s curled poster corners, I pour my Brita
the light is as red as my inner ear

Josephine Gawtry is a poet from Southern Virginia. She is currently an MFA candidate at Colorado State University, where she is the recipient of a Gill-Ronda Fellowship and an editorial assistant for Colorado Review. She has work forthcoming in Beaver Magazine.