The sea doesn’t care
about you—your infinitesimal
hurts, the way rain
canceled your plans and you
were happy, or your sharp teeth
shifted as if to say they hoped
to escape, your mother
curled herself into a shell
because she will only listen
to the sound of her heart echoed,
or a boring lover never said goodbye,
like how you won’t watch endings,
television a comfort you can’t bear
to conclude, the last bitter
swallow swirling shallow
in the saucer, movies a question
unanswered, an ellipses
like the tide, always leaving
to return, the certainty of erosion,
crabs thrust homeless in hot
sand, gulls greedy for good
meat, kelp tangled as a noose,
catching your lonely ankles,
wet and muck, smell of time
and brine sharp at your throat
as you plead the swell to stay.
Taking Plan B in a Pandemic
Means swallowing the story
where you won’t have children
with me even if it’s the end
of the world, which maybe is true
right now because we are trapped
in this lonely house without flour,
though we have 40 bananas
by mistake, too much vodka
and time melting ice into shards.
I wear a mask that is a smile
because our marriage bed has not
seen this action since the deaths
of 100,000 made us fall in love again,
even if we ran out of things
to say long before quarantine.
We paint the front door red, try to grow
green onions from what we cut
to nothing. We throw dice.
We ignore the howling
when the neighbor brings home
a dog that growls through the fence.
I believe when you promise survival:
my grandmother, my father, the robins
who fling themselves from the nest.
You bring me toilet paper, a flower
weed from the yard. You make bad jokes.
Before I swallow a plan
I never made, I cry about baking,
heat and steam, the smell of swell
and sugar. I am afraid
you will die too, leave me here and alone
with your decision. When you return
from the pharmacy you make bread
without flour. A clever trick.
I hold my aching stomach, watch you
crush bananas we never planned
or wanted into something sweet.
Sarah Fawn Montgomery is the author of Quite Mad: An American Pharma Memoir (The Ohio State University Press, 2018) and three poetry chapbooks. She is an Assistant Professor at Bridgewater State University. You can follow her on Twitter at @SF_Montgomery