psalm 107:5-7


did you know a tablespoon of lemon in skim
can substitute for buttermilk but only as a culinary
plan b it’s a farce as are most kitchen activities
did you know we can’t eyeball success in bed
it’s like vanilla it’s got to be measured watch me
baste your flesh with kisses of emulsified saliva
and shame did you know kiwifruit contains
an enzyme that breaks down dairy i once told this
to a boy to stop him kissing me it didn’t work
did you know i never buff my engagement ring
it’s not a diamond i didn’t want all that light
popping me like bacon grease did you know
my sister’s diamond sometimes grates her baby’s
face but at least she saved sex for marriage i didn’t
and at least she married a man i won’t
and at least she shellacked her elbows with sticky
applebee’s tabletop and warned me we can love
but we cannot accept them acceptance
connotes approval
and they should never taste
the nectar of our commend did you know i knew
worlds smashed like stepped-on candyglass
when i first mixed lips with a woman i could hear
jesus’ gingerbread house splintering and disciples’
robes curdling to cottage cheese at their feet
souring the whole resurrection scene even god
tasted bile but i didn’t and if he told you why
then kudos did you know he never told me



close your mouth mother while i stain it
with this new color i harvested this morning
from my bloodwebbed toes after a tenmile
run sit tight while i untangle bolls of my hair
from the shower i’m rescuing these molting bits
from the drain to rain over your crown don’t
tear your fingernails mother it’s unladylike

i’m using a Kit-Kat bronzer recycled
from the trashcan a panicked purge reclaimed
into something gorgeous pardon me i’m pestling
my acidleached teeth into a powder for your
blemishes blink and i’ll give my violet undereyes
to decorate your lids mother your heart
beats so slowly so does mine


fall of ‘92


Did the decayed leaves prickle differently
when you clobbered your girlbody into the leafpile,
blonde perm cottoning on twigs and acorns?  
Did the grass have more laughlines
when Dad mowed it for only you?
When you set up your easel on the edge
of the property line, what colors wriggled
through your waterglass, and how loudly
did they stain your fingertips?  When you warned
the sun that you wanted a sibling, did it hum
over your shellpink ears, conchshell reversed?
Let’s pick at these moot points like poison
ivy scabs, let’s ruminate in blisterfluid
on the patio until Sunday deigns to end.

Alaina Symanovich is an MFA student at Florida State University concentrating in creative nonfiction. Her work has appeared in Fourth River, The Offbeat, Fiction Southeast, Fogged Clarity, the Little Patuxent Review, and other journals, and she has a book of poetry, "Fortune," just released from Damaged Goods Press.