Complaint 49.5

At This Week’s Event
by Kerry Trautman

One of me is happy to be here and the other
keeps an eye on the back door,

knows from there it’s about eight
long strides to my car and its muffled clomp shut.

One of me looked forward all week, picked
out an outfit, wants to tell the woman in the red

chair I loved her last book. The other me
has picked the cuticle of my left thumb bloody.

One of me wants to make a pot of soup
for everyone in the room, wants to

know how many siblings each has. Cat? Dog?
The other wants them all to shut the fuck up.

One of me wants to slip my shoes off,
rest my feet on the chair in front of

me, cry at the sad bits, guffaw at the funnies.
The other me is nauseated and shivering

despite thick sweater, is certain the eyes in
the room are half-ambivalent

half-contemptuous, can feel my car’s ignition
clicking on with no key yet in my fingertips.

One of me wants the clock to stop. The other
feels each tock in my liver. One is happy to be here.

A lifetime Ohioan, Kerry Trautman is a founder of and the “Toledo Poetry Museum” page on Facebook, which promote Northwest Ohio poetry events. Her poetry and short fiction have appeared in various anthologies and journals, including Slippery Elm, Free State Review, The Fourth River, Midwestern Gothic, and Gasconade Review. Kerry’s poetry books are Things That Come in Boxes (King Craft Press 2012,) To Have Hoped (Finishing Line Press 2015,) Artifacts (NightBallet Press 2017,) and To be Nonchalantly Alive (Kelsay Books 2020.)

Pixabay image by Pexels.

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