Smooth Still

Smooth Still

The orange ranunculus
dropped its petals

like a soft feather war—
a dead fire bird,

a phoenix on the ground,
smooth still like the milk

puddles, lining the sink.
They boiled a thing

and it remained,
like homesickness

like depression, like ants
coming in from the rain.

He calls it dor but that’s
not her word to say, it’s his

as she watches the dead
fire bird, always glowing

perhaps overwatered
and burning still

that sweet aching flower
dropped its petals

at the door.
They are home now

all the time, inspecting
spider dust and granular cracks

in tile—she swears it’s
growing, and sobbing,

her during a movie, wishing
everyone: towards home.

Now there are fires
everywhere, again.

Lights on lights off,
winds always at the wrong.

time to wash a body, to burst
memories as soap duds

because they are soft too,
memories like flowers

drooping, one dropped
from her own hands,

another cracked in sun,
one lined the sink like milk

like paint, sticky and calm,

no hint of coagulation.
they blame the rotten

but this evening,
cheese is just the symptom

homesickness the instigator,
the rennet, the afterthought,

the solid, broken open
dirt clod near sunflowers—

summer happened
a long time ago,

ended when the landlord
ripped the sweet peas out.

Now it’s cold and the milk
never became cheese and

there is still no hint
of remembering.

Allie Rigby is a Bay Area poet and educator with roots in the chaparral of southern California. Her writing is published in the Manzano Mountain Review,Cholla Needles, Visitant, Living on Earth Radio, Vita Brevis, Open Ceilings, and more. Her most recent project is The Herd, a monthly literary newsletter aimed at building community and highlighting incredible artists.

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