Catapult | Poetry

Some Days

Some days come too soon.

Catapult magazine · Listen to Cate Lycurgus read this poem

  new dawn often—still, you cannot     
    wait to rip

into the gift of it—some days beg for tearing   
  into; others have you rumpled before
    you’ve hardly even

begun. Some days you want to wrap & return,
   factory-set all accomplishments, then pack   
   yourself too, back

  some days you’d jungle-gym your way
    away from her, her

  touch but unwrapped Starbursts
    in your mouth,

  one more time & her wiping
    eyes, minding the clock

for strips to blue or pink. & these days it is her
  hunger, home from work,
    that keeps you

wrestling corn of its husk, rinsing the greens
  of their dirt, or you’d be under
    ground, too. Some days

  splitting its seams; others, changing
    channels for him

  is the only place. Till 94.9 statics
    as you drive, &

pastels of back-lit buttes melt you—
  who wouldn’t miss a hue. Moon phase,
    encore, overtime—

then sometimes you fritter whole afternoons
  plucking the hairs at your panty line—
    follicle lightbulbs

a large striking white, to not do something
  direr. Once you backdove into a quarry,
    said you’d never

surface. If one whiskey can belly your burn, can hip
  your swing, a fifth can grind you
    into the backseat carpet

your tongue becomes. Somedays you try to OxiClean
  yourself stain-free, whiter than snow,
    past snow to invisible

  I’d ever been born when I felt

bad. You are bad. But badness is as common
  as quartz, & seldom found
    on its own,

in a pure state. More rare, the pressure you place
  to turn entirely gneiss. & even if
    this were possible,

I know how hard it is to change, when every day
  you’ve been poaching an egg the same,
    & it’s kept you

fed. To risk: scrambled, to risk: burnt, cursed, finally
  trashed. But where has perfection
    gotten you?

  pink slip, abyss below the curve.
    Ringback tone

  when a call came, you swerved—
    & then the doe

stepped out. The child. No one wants you
  back. What has paralyzed me
    most is not knowing

where to atone. Somedays I take on a butterbean
  shape, cupped in the daybed; even
    with mimosas pinking

  in on itself, a sickness where each cell
    collapses & one

succumbs unto despair —come, mimic the vaccine
  who turns a deadly tendency inside
    out, invades with flares,

fluorescent blanks, infiltrating to make a way. What good
  can one bring to this world
    without being here,

  bears an overhauled cruelty. Somedays

nectarines lingering on the counter join a shriveled
  beet from the drawer, get sliced &
    shredded plus hot

peppers, greens, crumbles of whatever cheese, an anointing
  of nuts if we’re blessed, & yes—
    call it a meal.

  of-the-month. It may seem haphazard &—
    it was years ago, but

remember—the one time you just went without a bag,
  defying time zone after zone, flew
    through night & appeared

at his door, against all sense, all expectation; were not
  summoned, had no idea
    if the seam

had been frayed beyond repair—most wheres you want
  to die. Sometimes it is all you can do:
    let the moving walkway

move. This time, you are here & here you hit the aisle
  in stride. It may not be your fault but
    it is, sometimes,