Nancy Drew

Reading in the backseat, feet propped
on the backrest next to my mother’s shoulders,
windows rolled down as we cross

Nevada’s shimmering tar, I’m running
my tongue along the rim of a souvenir bottle
of Tia Maria my parents bought in Las Vegas,

sign saying Ninety-nine miles to Stuckey’s, far
from Oxnard’s summer fog, Monday tennis lessons
between tomato fields, orange and yellow

marigolds withering in the window box,
far from our bungalow’s front porch where I’d seen
two moving men, one black-mustached,

the other blond, empty the Quonset hut next door,
later telling the policeman that the robbers
had been about thirty years old, earning me a

you-little-stupid-girl look. How old am I? he smirked,
blanching when I correctly guessed thirty-two,
perhaps fearing what he saw before him—

a girl taking aim at the castle doors
with her Eveready, her strong canary-
colored spine and long shelf life.


No one cares that you jammed your fingers
shutting the window against the rain last night,
that you can elicit the sharp pain of an osteoporotic
fracture, nor your arthritic steps

taken at the vast arboretum, mask pulled just below
your nose to inhale the scent of magnolias.
You sit in the quiet shade, yards away from Adam
with his wedding band on a similar bench on the other

side of the dry mosaic fountain, holding his head
as he talks into the phone, messy shine of thick black
hair falling over his face, long-sleeved gray T-shirt,
hackneyed apple in his left hand, copper thermos perched

like a snake’s head on the concrete near his tennis-shoed
feet. You look up to watch two healthy crows fling themselves
through the sky, think how you’ve missed the cold
sunshine of autumn in well over a year,

or was it the Sixth Day, time being a concept unmanaged
and abysmal. At the entrance, a clot of couples
peruse and point to names of donors etched on bricks,
voices carrying through the cypresses—

“I remember them.”               “Nobody liked her.”

“She didn’t die, right?”


Back muscles knotted into a colony
of hard leeches, Cesar’s palms coax them
into snitching on me.

They sob about my imperious demands—
hours in bed with a cell phone, wiping down
closet baseboards, shredding papers, pushing

and pulling a vacuum, as he hypnotizes them
into believing I can again be trusted.
Ethereal chords stretch taffy-like

through the sound system, mind
and muscles unspooling into the dark
velvet silence, past Vega, the Milky Way,

the holiday lights of a billion
trillion stars. Then Cesar’s gentle hand
on the dimmer brings a sort of dawn

to the room, as in a planetarium
where visitors wake from light speed
to softly lit walls, stumble

into sun, the parking garage,
explore the black holes
of purses for cell phones and keys.