Mary Christine Delea

Renting the House with Bad Karma

This is the nation of flying plates—
to taste food, one must be airborne,
to enter the kitchen, one must know
how to serve and catch. We have no limits
on our spin, bare our souls only
to each other, away from the noise.
What new threat will slice through
the dinnerware? We are always on guard,
close to the ground. In spring, when buds
appear, we won't be able to open windows,
afraid our own powerful cutlery
will fly and kill what is beautiful and innocent.

When White People Travel Abroad

The people in the trees are not really in the trees
but from your perspective everyone
is in the trees even the snakes
except the one you are going to step on,
and after you do, it will turn into a shadow
that will float into the trees and act like a low fog
the kind you see on a coast
but this is the jungle. You are not native to jungle
and you recognize so few things
that even your blood feels foreign and strange.
You think that these circumstances—
this jungle place and these tree people
and the snakes and shadows—are perfect
for the founding of a new religion
or the reinterpreting of an old one. You
would be the leader spreading the word beyond
the jungle, the world embracing you
so you would always feel native anywhere.
But it's hot and humid
and you're tired, so off you go to have a drink
by the pool, and you'll always know
how close the world came to being saved
and that seems like enough.