fall 2015 / Poetry 2015 / Uncategorized / Volume 46

Chicken Curry—Emm Rose Borgerding

What you don’t realize is

that when they say

“start over”

they don’t mean

clean slate,


cut your hair

name yourself

after a famous movie star

from the twenties, they

mean it as if

you were a mountain, and

now, you’re starting over from

cooling magma and liquid gem.

You’ll have to relearn

the meaning of your name, the

curve of the “e” no longer a

monk bent in prayer, the

“y” a sleeping cat in a sunny spot,

perhaps it’s closer to something like

a scythe, a woman vomiting over a

toilet bowl. You convince yourself

to stop drumming your

fingers on the table; it’s his

pet peeve, and there’s

no way he’ll put up with it anymore, not

after the way he flinched when

his knuckles rattled over the

railroad tracks carved into your thighs.

You can’t eat chicken curry. It

reminds you too much of the

three-and-a-quarter minutes of

slippery, stabbing, knots and buckles

as your insides poured outside, a

puddle of daughter and distress glistening

beneath the fluorescent lights across the tiles.

You’ll have to forget her name; you

don’t realize it now, but

that will be harder than teaching yourself

your own.

There are words squirming your

surface, you’ll want to cut them out;

do not follow this path, the

picket fence is not as easy to climb over

as it was in your youth and

when the gravel wears through your sandals, you

don’t have the calcification to protect

the skin of your feet.

Your heart will stop beating; a

punch to the chest should get it fluttering again.

Never stop walking. Keep your eyes facing front.

A kiss from your lover is the only

comfort that will make you feel worth

the middle class childhood and private school

collegiate work.

And you will move on, you will

pick up the keychain you dropped with

trembling fingers and

you will see the early morning fog settling

around the constant blur of your tires

forever pushing northward, but

you have smudges where there should be

elbows, and

eventually, you’ll forget why, but

you’ll eat chicken curry and

cry about it later.

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