Cut and Come Again - Elaina Bonner

My insurance payment will be due again in September.

More debt will accrue like snow burying dandelions. I will return 

to Goodwill, and hand the teenage cashier at a folded receipt because I won’t be able to afford the ugly

khaki skirt. And then the brassy trumpets of “Tuxedo Junction” will recompense 

Tuesday nights while I learn the Shim Sham under string lights. 

I will memorize the routine with pearls of sweat shining down my back. 

I will practice it again and take it from the top.

My check engine light will come on again. I will still pluck sprigs of rosemary 

and rub the leaves between my palms to anoint myself with its pine perfume 

just like my grandmother showed me the summer after I turned eight. Oil paint will freckle my thighs 

when I teach my friend how to tone a canvas. I will stay home sick 

with a case of imposter syndrome. It will keep me up all night with watery eyes

and nausea. I will forget one of the steps to the Shim Sham. I will struggle with the kick ball change. 

I will get better at the Charleston; my grandfather will get pneumonia.

Medical bills and empty gas tanks will bleed me dry like mosquito bites in Albuquerque.

But tonight, the DJ plays “Love is Strange” and when I spin, my partner 

beams at me, and it feels like hearing the first two notes of my favorite song – the one that wasn’t 

on the setlist- echoing in an arena. I spin till I’m dizzy, round and round and 

round. The song will end, and I will start again from the top.

I will still accidentally kick my cat at 3 a.m. when I wake from the recurring dream 

where my mother dies with my hands around her throat.

I will plant some zinnias to make myself feel better. Cut and come again,

it said on the packet of seeds. I will forget to water them, and they will wither

like potential. I will sing by myself in the car.

At the mall, my oldest friend will insist we stop to smell the seasonal candles; 

the scent of cinnamon, pumpkin spice, and Honeycrisp apple will fill our bellies. 

I will pass a deer carcass 

on the side of the highway, its hot blood adhering its fur to the asphalt

like Velcro. But under the guardrails 

buttercups and yellow sweet clover swing out.

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