She never swallows

poetry by Pattie Flint

She never swallows

I will walk in on her with swollen cheeks

and she will not say anything because she cannot,

and I will remind her to please swallow

her water.

She likes holding it in her mouth

because it makes her homesickness less obvious;

she misses the sea and what it did to her.

She tries to explain it by saying

sailboats are so easy to steal.

They don’t have a motor. All you need

is a basic knowledge of sailing,

and a love for the unknown.

 

She cries, sometimes,

because no one steals sailboats.

 

I tell her I met a man once

whose wife was leaving him,

and so he made a documentary about flamenco dancing.

The only word in the film is “duende.”

 

I stroke her round cheeks,

enjoy the wine barrel sound

of freedom sloshing around inside her mouth.

Stroke her throat with a soft finger pad.

I promise her that I’ll take her to Morocco,

after the Ebola breakout is under control.

She smiles at me sadly, swallowing slowly.

She never calls me Captain, anymore.

Where are you right now

poetry by Pattie Flint

Where are you right now

I ask the boy on the other side.

I expect him to say Cambodia but

he says California;

 

it’s been awhile since we talked.

 

A lot has changed since then.

His number had been twice deleted,

we didn’t date but that doesn’t mean

we weren’t in love.

 

I ask him where he is right at that moment.

Be as specific as possible I say,

and I close my eyes and rest my forehead.

He repeats his answer and asks me the same thing.

 

I look out past the glass an inch from my eyes,

looking down at the city moving beneath me

as the bus rattled my head against itself,

like a bad mother trying to quiet her baby.

I don’t know, I say, I don’t know.

Pattie Flint is a writer and bookbinder who lives in San Francisco, California. Her work has been published in [five] Quarterly, The Amsterdam Review, and TAB. She spends her time writing poetry and exploring connectivity and personal fulfillment through blues dancing.

Pattie Flint

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