SELF-PORTRAIT AS FICKLE CONSTRUCTION

Anthony Borruso

             After Wes Anderson


                             An old man eases open a book

                                            on a mid-century coffee table.

You’re introduced to each eccentric character

             —there’s the housewife, cigarette

                             and silk negligee, in her climate

                                            of quietude; the patriarch

with his pet falcon playing pinochle

             with the butler; their youngest aims

                             his Bebe gun at the neighbor’s

                                            begonias. At night,

the lighthouse illuminates their slice of providence.

             A cassette deck spins its achronological

                             sound around the child prodigy, their eldest,

                                            as she pens a Pulitzer play

inside her yellow tent. There’s a sense that things

             are too symmetric. This is where I

                             come in—the visitor—looking rag-tag,

                                            dripping bog water. The wife sees

how urgent and sludgy my situation is. She pours

             hydrogen peroxide on my still wet wounds

                             as I tell her about my life, its angular

                                            conundrums, its haphazard

soundtrack and unsynced mouths. No Beach Boy

             ballads or khaki scouts, my mother slapped

                             two slices of ham on wheat

                                            and whisked me out to the city bus,

school in an oversized cinderblock. O how I wanted

             slingshots and moon pies, a house of cards

                             with fifteen triangular eyes. A stop-

                                            motion fox who can dig his way

from thievery. All this as I grimace at the dab

             of her cotton ball and pastels start to run.

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Anthony Borruso is pursuing his Ph.D. in Creative Writing at Florida State University where he is a Poetry Editor for Southeast Review. He has been a Pushcart Prize nominee and was selected as a finalist for Beloit Poetry Journal's Adrienne Rich Award by Natasha Trethewey. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in The American Journal of Poetry, Beloit Poetry Journal, Pleiades, Spillway, The Journal, THRUSH, Moon City Review, decomP, Frontier, and elsewhere.