BAD HABITS ON A NATIONAL LEVEL
The news declares the number of people dead every hour:
they had drowned in their own lungs. Meanwhile:
flowers across the deserts of the Southwest open
their petals at night to avoid the heat.
They stain landscape
in ink while inmates in New York are offered
six dollars an hour to dig mass graves. Spring has come, cherry
blossoms escape into the air or else
are eaten by green,
all while a virus blooms in white blood cells
across the District. The Met Gala has been canceled;
even those encrusted in diamonds must bow
to someone. The specter of public health hidden in their closet.
Still, some things will remain holy even in end days:
the divets I chewed into the skin by my fingernails
burn when I touch citrus. I keep dreaming
of all the ways we could disappear, and each time
I awake less of us return. Sit cross-legged
at the edge of the grass
and concrete unrolls from my ankles into a city.
Infant oil spills coalesce in crevices, promising beauty
but killing my grass. Between two cell phone towers,
light cracks clouds and filters through voicemails,
missed calls, bated breath at the other end of the line.
There are tears on my cheek
and I don’t know why.
Once I wished for a world as uncertain as liquid:
the existence of a frog suspended in a jar of formaldehyde. Now,
we are swimming in our own lungs.
We try desperately to stay dry.
ABOUT THE POET
Clara Trippe is a Midwest poet who grew up on occupied Chippewa and Ottawa land. She is a graduate of Grinnell College’s English department, and her work has been featured in The Normal School, The Shallow Ends, Rust + Moth, Glass Poetry Press’ Poets Resist feature, and Paperbark Literary Magazine. Clara is a lover of queer theory and freshwater. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter at @mid_west_dad.
ABOUT SUGAR HOUSE REVIEW
We loved reading the work that we’ve published (clearly), and we want an opportunity to better hear our contributors. We’re featuring audio recordings of poems from our pages, read by the poet. This an open invitation to all contributors from any of our issues, we were delighted to print your work, now we’re eager to hear it.