Pillow Talk, Brunch, then Cowboy Boots
There are worse things to count than failures. Pink and taut,
a slab of meat twitches in the crockpot like a gymnast’s muscle.
Tonight I parse the cook time by redness. When it’s the color of my lips,
it's time to pour the Wild Turkey and bash in the spider webs. In heels
I can still run, the brunt of my full weight like wet blades
through sugar water. Would I be prettier if I were a cat? I need
you to dazzle my insults with some backhands, please. I’d like them
to sparkle. Sometimes the cracks in my voice are so deep you need a lantern
to get by the three-headed guard rabbit at the gates. You must go barefoot
on the gravel made by brass and deer hooves. I feel chills
in my hands and feet when I cartwheel into a room, but it's just the spinning
of gold static letting me know that it’s winter now. It has been too long
that the empty children's lungs are piping that cornflake music.
Love, this all for you. Tonight let’s lie like two bowls about to be cleaned.
It’s My Party and I’ll Implode if I Want To
You show up with a cake and moths fly out when I slice it. Sugar,
I replace with salt and bake us hardtack. We're soldiers, I say, gnawing
on my cheek. You sleep like a cat—spine bent backwards—but never touch
the ground. What is it about you that makes me rally forward? A love
like an eyelash stuck to red vein, a train screeching with birds of every color
roosting with the stowaways. I'd busk my arms off after your pixie friend
noted how I always hold your hand. Top-notch vision! So she’s an expert now
on third wheels? It feels a little Betty and Veronica, don't you think, Arch?
You ice with a dirty spoon, laughing at your joke that I’d make a klutzy
stripper. I've Betty'd too long, fool. Why did no one ever fail you in Algebra
or love so you’d go hog-wild at Bed, Bath & Beyond? From now on I rescind
all Above Averages for you. Take your scorecard to the Redemption Counter
and claim your life-size teddy bear. Surprise, it has fleas! For your birthday:
heavy petting and a cake with your name in purple, gouged as if by my nails.
About Anne Barngrover & Avni Vyas
Anne Barngrover earned her MFA at Florida State and is currently a PhD candidate at University of Missouri. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Indiana Review, Ninth Letter, and Michigan Quarterly, and elsewhere.

Avni Vyas lives and works in Tallahassee, Florida where she is pursuing a PhD in Poetry. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Meridian, Crab Orchard Review, Gargoyle, River Styx, and others.