“Insomnia and the Eighth Plague of Egypt” by Theresa Göttl Brightman

I have never been very good at being awake.  My antelope roommate daily reminds me of this.  I am in love with a crispy oxen nightlight, heavily lifting the corners of Jupiter into my bedroom.  My roommate’s boyfriend is a batting average of chinchilla hats curled into the couch.  In the mornings, I find him with chewed heirloom ivory piano keys falling from between chapped lips.  I’ve been sweeping up the bite-shaped splinters for days.  My roommate grinds purslane and moss into the livingroom rug, grazing while the boyfriend and I watch TV.  I tear suture strips from the sun, wrap them scarf-wise around my throat in a caution do-not-crucifix ribbon.  Sodium scholarships bombardier the apartment, until grasshoppers, thorax, mandibles, sluice every nozzle in the flat.  A fascist dragon with hard-boiled skins bites off three of my fingers and names the other seven after the cardinal sins.   My roommate applies a rice paper tourniquet around my webbed fingers.  Industrialized zebra finches dock in the broken crust of the elevated hydrogen balloon above the building.  The boyfriend collects all the doorknobs, smuggled in antique mansion lunch boxes.  The desert in my belly shifts, and my roommate bolts, springbok legs tangled with Saharan lion ancestral memories as she crumples against ajar closet doors and through the ground floor picture window.

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brightman photo

Theresa Göttl Brightman‘s poems have appeared in many online and print publications, two chapbooks, and one full-length collection.  She has received writing awards from the University of Akron, the City of Ventura, CA, Cleveland Museum of Art, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, the Rhysling Award, and the Best of the Net awards.  She lives in Ohio, with her writer husband and the green bird who owns them both.  She can be found online at gottbrightpoems.blogspot.com.

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