On Not Flying to Hawaii

I could be the waitress
in the airport restaurant
full of tired cigarette smoke and unseeing tourists.
I could turn into the never-noticed landscape
hanging identically in all the booths
or the customer behind the Chronicle
who has been giving advice
about stock portfolios for forty years. I could be his mortal weariness,
his discarded sports section, his smoldering ashtray.

I could be the 70-year-old woman who has never seen Hawaii,
touching her red lipstick and sprayed hair.
I could enter the linen dress
that poofs around her body like a bridesmaid,
or become her gay son
sitting opposite her, stirring another sugar
into his coffee for lack of something true to say.
I could be the reincarnated soul of the composer
of the Muzak that plays relentlessly overhead,
or the factory worker who wove this fake Oriental carpet,
or the hushed shoes of the busboy.

But I don't want to be the life of anything in this pitstop.
I want to go to Hawaii, the wet, hot
impossible place in my heart that knows just what it desires.
I want money, I want candy.
I want sweet ukelele music and birds who drop from the sky.
I want to be the volcano who lavishes
her boiling rock soup love on everyone,
and I want to be the lover
of volcanos, who loves best what burns her as it flows.

Alison Luterman


Making Me Your Jack-O-Lantern 10-13-1999

I am a swollen orange gourd. Solid, Lush,
and Mellow. I wait for your hands to veer me.
You turn me, searching for a place to enter.
Finding a smooth, unflawed surface,
steadying yoru warm hand at my side,
you sink yoru knife into me. Puncturing my flesh, a slow
descent into the fruit of me, until your knife
succumbs to the hollow cavity inside.
You cut for me, a delicate nose, and eyes
too beautiful to be my own, and though
I was born to smile; I receive luscious,
slightly parted lips. Keeping me from words.
Finishing my face, you reach deep inside me-
grasping small, tender, pale seeds that surrender
to your pull. Your hand wet with my inner secrets will
soon be dry, and I'll be stuck
in the creases between your fingers-
loose strings of ripe fruit crusted under your nails.
Complete, you place a fragrant solid wax
in my center, granting me radiance.
Resting me on display, I wait
for someone jealous of your creation,
to steal me, smashing the weak shell, of who I as,
in disgust, on the street.