/n mason

Of Girls& Friends& Sister Wives

Before we became women we watched Sister Wives together&      discussed our significant female relation    ships& she  always wondered how the hus       band this earnest dolt of a man convinced     these four square-cut women these affable     broodmares to love each other& to div     ide every part of their lives every badg     e of muliebrity rationed in a pre-fab     kitchen of pots of children& table     spoons of jealousy& measuring cup     s of finite fertility& she would ask me what     kind of woman agrees to a lustrum-marriage       that follows you into the hereafter&          honestly it sounds nice sometimes this acqui               escence to the pull& navigation of breasts&     blood& how male attention isn’t neces     sary but it’s the only way to build a life     really& how once during a school play thi     s girl Heather who was very tall& occasion     ally bruised told me to pull the fire alarm&     I said no that’s stupid& so she pulled     it with her long pale fingers& bright blue     veins that wound around her wrists like sec     ret alleyways of mean blood& how the fire     department came& there was a heap of     trouble& she told everyone I did it but I did           n’t do it& I said I didn’t even if I was stout&     my hands square-cut& through my tears I     saw the cute boy the one I would sell     my girl-soul for how I saw his blonde curls&     his baby-boy beauty touch Heather’s perf     ectly hurt shoulder& say I was a liar!& the     ache of it all broke into my feet because it       takes such a long time to learn that mean     ness thrives for some reason in the               ovum

Google history as filed by ex-lover

#26: You: if there is a country of black hills how can I crack open my sternum to show the engine inside / / what is the value of silence / / why are the mice in my cupboards lurking like secret sentinels waiting to know what it feels like to be killed / / how do I ask if love is just the guilt we feel when we die and pass into our next skin / / what is confabulation

#4: Derek: how to forget the sound of someone’s voice / / how to hide the smear of a thumbprint

#10: Chris: what is the science and business of now / / how should I sleep through the falling of the leaves / / when was flesh just a container / / what if I could recall the vaguest sense of blurred buildings

#71: Ben: how can I match my tuning fork to the vibrations of your voice to all of the other boys I’ve kissed

#12: David: how is a man the manifestation of salt and snow / / how to listen to a dead heart / / what are the possibilities in the lights that weave the mountains

#30: Michael: how much of myself do I owe to my father marking the passage of time by how many of the actors in the wizard of oz are still alive

#46: Oliver: why is a cigarette in the dark like the periodic signal of a radio tower 50 miles away

#87: Jordan: what is the truest story I could tell

#36: Aaron: what are the real implications of the ending in toy story 3 / / what if love was as coins / / how to make the last break-up feel like the first / / what does the lake do with all the bodies that have drowned in its waters / / what should I do with the snapshots I find of strangers sprouting in my front lawn / / why does the spring snow remind me of the jagged fingerbones of Indiana / / when someone turns into a small shrunken tree how should I tend to them generationally

#1: Carlos: what is this / / what is this / / what is this / / what is this / / what is this / / / / /


Nicole Mason received her MA in Literature from Northern Michigan University and is currently an MFA candidate in Poetry from Western Michigan University. She is an assistant editor of poetry at Third Coast Magazine and she lives in Kalamazoo, MI with her husband and three ungrateful dogs. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Roanoke Review, Midwestern Gothic, After the Pause, and Slipstream.