Nurse Nacirema
Not a swimmer in sapphire seas, but only
someone’s dad who went out to get a cigarette
to script his own undoing. Call him 
 
a linguistic ship, which doesn’t need
a skipper, a misplaced marine
in a forest of stiletto & swagger. 
 
Welcome to a wilderness of downed timber.
His tree a lit wedding gown—white
green, yellow, red, then all white again. 
 
In this light, the nurse enters, hair cut short 
makes her look butch. Her hemline hangs 
stiffly over her daikon legs,  
 
she’s a boxer with a pug nose. 
Her provenance is Manileña—
hails from the barrio of Tondo,
 
& packs a knife in her purse. 
She wiped her knife with a tissue 
& clicked blade back into her purse. 
 
The merchant seaman had scoped out the skirt 
So sayeth the knife telling us her version: All he wanted 
was to feel good, all he wanted was to talk shoes…
 
He sidled up to the nurse waiting for the bus
when a knife appeared & told him to go to hell. 
Down he went into a kaleidoscope of broken mirrors,
 
a festive flotilla of colors, blood, & pavement. 
The seaman doubles over, 
then falls flat on the seat of his pants. 
 
On the corner of Haight & Fillmore, 
failure drapes his body like an oversized shirt
flowing like jibs in front of Hank’s 500.
Copyright © 2004–2017 Memorious