Pucker and Squint by Abigail Beckel


The black spots on the sun are blooming.
NASA has discovered caves on the moon
that astronauts might be able to live in.
Too bad there aren’t astronauts anymore.
I check my teeth in a knife’s reflection.
Or maybe I am looking behind me
quick as a silverfish (gross)
to see if I can sleuth the heartquake
happening in my chest.
As usual, there is nothing there.
My blood muscle just keeps
beating fast as a double-dutch rope.
I am always seeing things
I wish I could make into reality.
Dutch scientists have now figured out
the basic properties of teleporting—
I can’t wait to be particles beaming
from here to you. When the atoms
reconfigure, I’ll be a little different,
my hair a shade darker, a few memories
gone, the hollow of my shoulder deeper
than you remember. The old me
will niggle at your mind, tease you.
I will haunt you like a hummingbird,
always darting away in the corner
of your eye, wondering who you love more.
Good thing I’m worrying about this now
so I’ll be ready for beam-me-up day,
the future me and you. The knife fogs,
everything behind me is pucker
and squint. And there’s the past,
steadfast, steadfast, steadfast.


ABIGAIL BECKEL is a poet and the publisher of Rose Metal Press, an independent, nonprofit publishing house for books in hybrid genres that she co-founded in 2006. Her poems have been featured in Delaware Poetry Review, Open Letters Monthly, and The Fourth River, among other publications. She lives in Maryland.