portion of the artwork for Nicholas Martino's poem

Lean In
Nicholas Martino

I hotfooted down the dogleg
into Wildcat Creek Watershed
where I had it in my head to cut you a bouquet.
I’d just started working, just been let out
to spade in slate-tipped boots, loosed
upon the slanted world like a rodeo bull
come clanging home, my only crime
having loved this dazzling, bloodthirsty
stadium too fierce. Look at me go, my guts
—my woman insides, dancer, dog—rolled up
like toothpaste in a funeral shirt
and too-tight flood pants. Look at me
vamp through the trails, bitchin’, witchy-eyed,
my head a hothouse of mortal terror.
I’d just moved to Berkeley, to the scrub jays
and the lawn care warfare, and hadn’t yet decided
if everyone here loves pedestrians or
secretly longs to murder them or
plummets themselves
into never knowing which. One minute I’m mincing
down Ashby in bone-colored sunglasses
—a future sandwich of steel and tar—
like there’s this big surprise party happening
every day called Nick! around every corner.
The next, a beautiful woman nearly
clotheslines me with her hummer.
I’d only just met you and your miso ears
and all I wanted was for the hummer to come back
and finish the job for good. She’d stop the car,
step out, heels clicking in the sun,
bend down and whisper, I like it
when you lean in.

Return to Archive

FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 49 | Spring/Summer 2017