Still Life | Maria Nazos
Maria Nazos is the author of A Hymn That Meanders, (2011, Wising Up Press) and the chapbook "Still Life," (2106 dancing girl press). She has received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her poetry, translations, and lyrical essays are published or forthcoming in The Mid-American Review, The North American Review, The Tampa Review, The Florida Review, The Southern Humanities Review, Subtropics, The Drunken Boat, and elsewhere. Currently, she is a Great Plains Fellow studying Creative Writing in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Creative Writing PhD program, where she teaches creative writing and poetry workshops. She can be found at www.marianazos.com.
For a Good Time, Call Morphine
The only number scrawled on these blank
hospital walls belongs to your distant mistress.
She’s the only one who staves off pain.
Your wife is one tough lady, who still can’t force
that bitch out the door. In every affair the other
woman is blamed. Convicting is easy when the big C
looms at your window, blotting out the sky,
reminding me I’m so small, just a long-distance
friend in the face of something that I want to call
“God.” But this is not God, and I can’t call him.
In my house there’s no big white phone.
Instead I call you. As I listen to her whisper
drug your blood, I think of how I’d like to spray-
paint those pearly gates with the names
of dead friends deleted from my phone, whose
faces blur like ink with each year they’re gone.
If this is how you must go—with your black
leather folded, your gas station restroom of a mouth
gulping air—then rain back down. Rattle windows.
Or while you’ve still got some fight, surge
out the door, IV dangling from your arm. Ride
your Harley west. Toss your halo around a dark
street lamp like a girl’s love ring. You can’t end
with a last resort chemical fling. Not when
the world’s only just begun to love you:
not when love is never a last resort.