Electric Pipal Tree

By Ms. Dolly

I lay stomach down

on these stiff blue fibers

that smell like the oil in my hair,

and I bury my head in my arms

shielding my eyes

from the electric sunset

of a single fluorescent bulb.

I look up:

Two strangled socks,

a lonely scrap on a linoleum expanse,

and a nomadic Cheez-It

A girl honks like a seal

Outside my fissured door

And I stretch my leg

Because the muscle's been so stiff

And I crunch my abs

Because they've been so cramped

And I try to fill my chest with air

But all I can do is

all that I've been doing lately,

which is


Luckily, a deformed 2L Pepsi bottle reclines nearby,

its awkward temple stocked with tap water

that tastes like the crappy conservative town I got it from.

I take a chug, throwing back my makesift canteen,

and then the reflection of the light on the spotty tile

is like some kind of mirage,

and this Pepsi bottle is my oasis,

this carpet and the plastered ceiling,

that go on for miles when my contacts go skinny-dipping, are:

my wasteland, my desert.

And maybe all this anxiety and loneliness and these feelings of being misunderstood

are just some sandstorm,

blowing up the dunes of my mind.

Then I remember I don't write anymore.

I think of Ozymandias and James Joyce,

then Virginia Woolf and Offred.

And I want to puke.

The penguins in my belly are regurgitating cacti again.

I'm sick of debating whose genius is better than whose,

or whose is true genius.

I look directly into this electric light

Let it blaze in my eyes,

till I feel robbed and naked,

wondering if my face will crumble

like the stone of the ancient sphinx.

I wonder then if Buddha could have attained enlightenment

Sitting under a 3-prong portable pole with a polarized plug

…instead of a pipal tree.