A CHAMELEON IS A LIZARD IS A CONSTELLATION IS AN INCONSTANT PERSON
by Lauren Jacquish
slathered on eyes damned eyes,
to sit across from this man
praised for handling his bossy woman so well−
my she-ro, my sister. I see Tammy Wynette.
We’re slamming wine. We’re laughing.
I’m globbing it on thick. Blurring memory: his hands
robotic extensions groping me awake shudder
his stupid face his stupid easy chair−
When I woke to it that night, all I said was,
You need to go to bed.
I may have rubbed forgiveness on too soon.
Manic let me make this easy on you all
martyring thanksgiving forgiveness-turkey,
aching and incomplete
I spread forgiveness on toast.
Mother’s Day, I pet his child’s head and lie,
Yes, it is fun that we’re all together.
I keep my head down, butter the knife.
This is an art you see, never looking him in the eye.
Can he hear me thinking we’d all be better off if he just−
This is my forgiveness-shield. It deflects
arrows. They ricochet like flukes like pardon me.
It becomes like nothing
to hold up my arms turn this way and that
to forgive and forgive.
Forgiving makes me a contortionist:
Pay two bucks to see my shoulders turn inward
hip-points turn inward. The Human Clam
guards the heart breasts sex-power-root of the spine.
I’ve become something of a forgiveness-cave world wonder.
Don’t touch anything
don’t even breathe
lest fungus take hold damage the delicate forgiveness-façade.
In fact stay out spelunkers walk out backwards
seal the openings and don’t tell anyone what you’ve found.
I want to say forgive me as women often do
for asking you to leave, for being inhospitable, for being silent.
Lauren Jacquish is an editor, writer, and musician based in High Bridge, New Jersey. She works in early childhood education, is an English/Women’s and Gender Studies/Creative Writing graduate of Douglass at Rutgers University and holds an MFA from Arcadia University. She enjoys singing, dancing, and making terrariums with her kid. She is never going to die.