Poetry of the Sleep Deprived

Remember how I promised new things? Here’s item one on the list, so it can now be checked off!

On Seeing Your Face on a Milk Carton Back

I bet you thought they didn’t make these anymore–
the small square cardboard cartons–but they do.
I bet you’d be surprised to find your face on several thousands, too.
Smiling cow on the front, smiling you on the back,
vital stats below, brown hair, brown eyes, five-six.
I think I’m more alarmed by the picture of you–so natural, so happy–
where it doesn’t belong, than I am to see a cartoon cow with a toothy grin.
Two displacements are evident here:
You are not where you should be, and
your likeness is where it should not be.
How do I reconcile this?
The carton is a liar anyhow. You went bottle blond
last Tuesday in a fit of juvenile rebellion.
Your mother was livid, wasn’t she?
I heard her taking to the cashier at the grocer’s about it. That was only Wednesday.
Thursday, you were gone.
It’s amazing how fast they can print and distribute such things;
it took only a week.
I wonder if your wonder will be greater than mine at seeing the back of the milk carton.
I can send them a new photo. There aren’t any of you
with the new color yet.
Just dry your eyes and smile.
There, now.
Say “cheese!”

I confess I just finished reading Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman. I’m also struggling to get in the head of the villain in my novel. He’s terribly flat right now. So, here’s a bit of poetic evil for your terrific enjoyment.


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