by Erika Rasmussen


My father said
you need to be dependable.

I said

What I meant was,
I’m trying.
I don’t know
what to do with a brain
always running
out of storage.
The memory on this model
of human is slightly unscrewed,
the warranty expired.

What I meant was
an intergalactic apology to all
who’ve fallen to
my broken confidence.

The laundry always stales
where I promised
it wouldn’t be.
The keys hang, abandoned,
beckon darkness to our door—
every robber’s dream.
They swing all night, glistening.
Hushed voices in the morning
affirm she’s got to start listening.

Words of dishonor spill, grains from a
well-intentioned covenant mill.
I wonder if
every promised prayer I
didn’t say
rests as heavily on
their backs as the lump
that hunches my throat.

These lips could stand
to make an oath less each day.
A ghost less with each pledge undismayed.

I wish my middle name
could be
but I’ll take Grace instead.
Nine times out of ten,
I’ve still some redemption left.

This isn’t a game, but I fear
I’m knocking other’s pieces out
with the clumsy
of my head.