Michaela Gabriel
poem with possibilities and uncertain outcome

(a multiple choice poem)
— for arlene ang

this morning, the sky is a succession of clouds/birds/blue tiles. she
sleeps, doll's face hidden behind dreams/pink cloth/a bucket, half
full, one-quarter empty, the rest indecisive like her. there are things

she will not talk about: the mailman, a thumb testing the suppleness
of a peach, the magnetism of roundabouts/red lights/sharp corners
in dull suburbia. i start my browser, imagine her bare foot on the gas

pedal/cooker/works, but never those hands with their tendency to
stray/strike/straddle gaps. i click link after link in search of her, like
gretel following a sugar trail. what i find is this: long drops, stifled

moans in the arms of a man named digby/nigel/napoleon, secret
adventures involving g-strings/mail/spot-fondling. she snickers in
her sleep; she knows i'm watching, knows i want to be the one

who drives her battered car/to distraction/into a cliché of a sunset.
i send thirteen messages, call her angel/arsenic/arachne, do not
mention the word love even once, nor allude to folded clothes/

businesses/rose petals down south; this is a test. if she doesn't
notice, i will start peppering her days with shortcuts/deflate the
muse of subtle innuendo/steal her frog obsession in the night.