GRIEF TOWN

I’m the mayor of Grief Town
all my citizens come to my town hall
everything I say is interesting.

meetings include hard-hitting issues like
                  “CAPITALISM SUCKS!
                         NOW WHAT?”
and at the end I pull out one of my teeth with my hands
only to discover it has tiny mushrooms growing inside
I give my blessings to the meek
and pity and mercy for anyone I think sucks

      then I open up the town hall
and let other people pontificate about whatever they want
              a bald woman imparts fantasies about her pet therapist
              a greasy man reads from his autofiction manuscript
              a crow expresses their dissatisfaction over alleged electoral malpractice
and like a good mayor I sit back, relax, and listen to it all

I have many devastating revelations about what it means to be human
and I become toothless

one day I decide: enough of this.
and I smother my citizens to death
and I curse the statue of my likeness in the middle of the town
               because bored
                            tired
                                not as fun as originally thought
but mostly because I find out that I can’t save the world
the way I thought I would when I was 14

I announce that I’m an entrepreneur the way other entrepreneurs do it
     (you just start calling yourself that one day)
and I make sadness my business.

I install a neon sign in an empty building next to a drug store that says
             “MY BUSINESS IS SADNESS
                  WHY NOT?”
and I pat myself on the shoulder: someone has to

day and night I work to cure people of their
                baby-related fears
                eczema
               neediness
                histrionics
                medical insanity
                              and no one ever talks about heartbreak
but too many clients want me to cure them of their grief
and once again I discover that I can’t

one day I decide: fuck this.
and I burn down the building
and I put my hands in the flame but my body is still cold
         so I realize it’s probably time to stop playing around

I make a decision: I’m becoming a wife
Grief asked and I said YES!
it happens all the time.

closed ceremony
decorative napkins
party logistics
and my father wishes us well

Years pass, until I stop looking like the mayor
I threaten with divorce many times
and never follow through

Grief is mad at me because I’m late for dinner every night
Grief is mad about a lot of the things I do, and we never discuss it

when night falls onto Grief Town
Grief sleeps besides me, snoring
And me, restless, dreaming of teeth

By Laurel

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