A quartet by poetry editor Sherilyn Lee.
The Personal Assistant Speaks
Los Angeles doesn’t demand your love.
If you don’t understand her, she’ll bow her
head, say “Namaste,” and she’ll rise above.
Not everyone gets her, she’s not bitter.
If you hate her, she doesn’t care, she’ll shrug.
She’s always triple booked, super busy.
But she’ll respect your honesty — it’s rare.
Look her in the eye, but don’t be crazy.
Don’t react to her egregious mistakes,
She already knows she’s a spectacle.
L.A. is all real about being fake,
High maintenance and she’s kind of fickle.
She’s all over the place — in a hurry,
Suck it up, she never says she’s sorry.
Bread and Butter
“When you’re walking down the street with
a friend and you two are separated by a pole,
any old pole, telephone pole, light pole, stop sign,
I say Bread and Butter,” said Dinah Sue, her eyes lit up,
“That way — nothing will ever come between you.”
Between us, between me and Grant, walking
to dinner most nights, we let go of each other’s hands for
strollers, Bread and Butter, streetlamps, Bread and Butter.
Hoping years of my silent prayer repairs our moments
apart across years of todays and tomorrows.
When my dream job came, I insisted — “Even if we
won the lottery, I still would take this job.” Bread and Butter.
Dreaming in real-time gives, insists, demands.
I flew cross-country most weeks. Bread and Butter.
Even when home in L.A., I was three hours away.
Bread and Butter.
Years later I hung it up, told my boss, “I have to go.”
Bread and Butter. I quit the dream. For the first time,
my life unplanned. Bread and Butter. Freefalling
requires sleep. I’m a sound sleeper but late one night,
woke up cold, I had kicked aside the comforter,
a cushioned wall between us, Bread and Butter.
Grant pulled the comforter back over me and said,
“Because I love you.”
I didn’t recognize Grandma at first.
She’s smiling, holding a floppy hat
on her head, keeping it from the wind.
Grandpa stares into the morning sun,
his hand reaches around her tiny
waist. By the time I was born, she
wore a wig, short and styled. But
here with Grandpa, her hair flows.
And she’d remarry after he died but
I never saw her as happy as this.
Nothing or no one could ever come close.
You’ll have to cut me some slack.
I’m a little nervous. You ran your
finger along my forehead, tucked
my bangs behind my ear. I want to
stay and turn and run. Earth will
nod towards the sun tomorrow.
Midsummer’s light about to peak.
Our heads lean in. That night at
Spintana you winked across the table.
I blushed. I wanted to be cool.
Yes, you may refill my glass.
But I’m a fast runner. We held hands.
You’ve said that you run even faster.
But tonight you whisper don’t go.
The full moon will slip off my shoes.
The longest day of the year will give way.
You nuzzle my nape under luminescence.
You ran your finger along my forehead,
tucked my bangs behind my ear.
Gravity is a force that draws two bodies.
The axis is about to shift.
* * *
Sherilyn Lee is the poetry editor of Angels Flight • literary west. Her poems have been published in Common Ground Review, The Rockhurst Review, Emerge and the museum of americana. She earned an MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles and currently is working on a poetry collection about work-life imbalance and a memoir about roller derby, in the moments in between serving as a ref for the L.A. Derby Dolls and as a social media and content strategist for The Good Men Project. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.