In the Ballpark

By Emily G. Bjustrom

The air smells of popcorn and spilled beer
The concrete floor sticky
The air balmy and cool
Were we in love then?

There’s something dishonest in the way I’ve dressed myself
Flattened out my curls
No jacket
Who was I pretending to be?

You look like yourself, eyes lighted
Exactly where you want to be.

Green collapsible seats, open like cheering mouths
Hopeful as their occupants,
Drunk and slurry behind, they jeer against us for the home team.

A summer ball game, a blue sky
joy palpable as water in the air

The bitter taste of a pregame beer lingers in the back of my throat.
Did you love me then?

Plague Ship

Emily Bjustrom

Chafed and cherished
Burned and blessed
Irritated and honored

I feel like a sausage stuffed into a dress
I feel like no one is listening

when beauties can’t sleep it’s a tragedy,
when I can’t sleep it’s indigestion.

Why do empty parking lots
feel like ghost towns?

What makes one
lone streetlight more romantic than any other?
Burning through the night-

No one will ever
hold these memories
and love them.

No one will ever
curl exactly
like you do-

You are an abandoned
boat house
on a wide lazy river.

I climbed
the magnolia tree
even though I am
too fat and too old.

You are my plague
and we plague each other.

The days yawn and snap shut

joints shift
in and out of place.

What does it mean
when little chamomile flowers
grow next to the front porch?

What does it mean when the worst thing you can do to a stranger is kiss?

My body is a ouija board.
My body is a play pen.
My body is a plague ship.

I’m a river.
I’m a house.
I’m halfway there.

Children with milk
smooth faces
smoke and fuck
call me cunt
nobody listens.

Half in and half out
which foot will you use
to step in this mess?

My body creaks
yours does too.

People are the plague
and we plague each other.