Tantrum Party

by PHILIP SCHAEFER

 

I’m mapping out a list of all the people

who no longer speak to me. Each morning

I fingerpaint a new face on the wall, my own

private hallway of mug shots. I place my ear

like a stethoscope to their chests. Pretend

to tongue out their eyes. Sometimes it’s hard

to be this close to loss. To know I’m only

haunting myself. But their mouths are beautiful

green birds, a way for me to turn their silence

into language, their hate into envy. Let’s say

it was my fault, that I never listened close

enough. That my hot air balloon head finally

caught fire. That at night, when the attic drains

its ghosts and the linoleum pools

a hundred moons, you are able to talk

back. Your cursive lights up the room

like airplane smoke, your hair a way to Ouija.

I’ve given you the voice you always wanted. These

are my hands, this is my bucket of black paint.