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Monica Rico, Three Poems

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by MONICA RICO

There was nothing to be done
except to kiss the drunk girl
hoping now she would let us
take her home

a place I remembered
so vaguely from high school
it shocked even you.

We drove through
the beginnings of snow
wheels crunching along the street
and you smiling as we left
the first tracks
in the sleeping subdivision.

The joy of being together,

but sort of alone
in your maroon Buick that
I’ve forgotten the name of
with your soon to be
suicidal girlfriend
passed out in the back seat.

It certainly wasn’t that bad.
You hadn’t started walking
through the cemetery yet,
circling around your own plot
touching the marker
saying, not soon enough.
The snow softly protesting
under your cowboy boots.
The Engine of a Casket
by MONICA RICO

I suppose it didn’t make sense to you,
learning to drive in a cemetery
where our mutual family members are buried.
Nothing to hurt, I said
as my very pregnant friend shouted obscenities
at you nervously winding through the circle drives
leading to stones that mark
our very simple and forgotten existence.

I suppose I wasn’t teaching you much.
You had probably already driven a car,
certainly kissed a boy, but maybe just stupid enough
to think that I was cool, momentarily.

I remember how young we were, parking the car
and visiting the plot we call grandpa.
The cemetery seemed so crowded, not enough space
between me and you and our shared future.

I should’ve said something, but didn’t
about the bright summer sun, the way
that cemeteries have no smell,
your giggling behind the wheel.

I didn’t think that this was the first time
we’d be without directions
unable to stop.

The Last Lifeguard of Hair-Dos
by MONICA RICO

The maple tree
was the first to go.
The shadow it cast
over the water
was like swimming under
a great white shark.
At least,
that is what I told myself.

A decade later,
the pool had to go too.
And with it
all my moments
that contained a certain
smoothness I lack
in terrestrial life.

Back then, my mother’s
simple solution
for fixing my hair
was always
temporarily relieved
underwater.

A film of cream rinse
curdled around me
waiting to dissolve
in the evening treatment
of chlorine.

I can’t tell if my fingers
miss being wrinkled
and my lips, their purple hue
from waters too cold,
or my ratty hair underwater
for the only time ever, elegant.

Monica Rico published the chapbook, Esperanza (Ridgeway Press, 2001), graduated with a M.A. in Creative Writing from the City College of New York and currently lives in Michigan where she works at an olive oil store.  Her poem “La Hermana” appeared in the April 2010 installment of Poets’ Basement.

 

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