Lewis Carroll Knew My Family: A Series
If the Queen is pleased by her reflection,
her echo, I have learned to mimic better
than the best mirror.
If the Queen wants me to wear
a pantsuit to foil her dress,
I produce the perfect pumps.
The Queen and I eat salads, low-fat
dressing on the side. We titter in language
I don’t understand, but speak.
In her dim bedroom, time fractals and catches
small animals in its drift. I shrink to a pawn
and gaze at the cards she has dealt.
Dubya R. may or may not have
a drinking problem. His thighs
grip a Solo cup of Coors
at night while he drives stick,
red-eyed, half-blind. Alice
white-knuckles the seat,
eyes glued on her blue plaid skirt.
The headlight infantry snakes
the interstate as Rabbit
swallows the dregs and tosses
the cup into the backseat,
a clatter of plastic on plastic.
Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum
Denting the sofa side by side, they share
a brain, passed on a chipped plate
the color of thrift-store khakis.
Expired cereal, rabbit-eared cable,
ma’s house, pink Caddy—
guiltless barter and theft.
He suspends vodka in Sprite, bubbles
and glass reflecting mad hazel eyes:
smoke puff, dinged mirrors,
a magic spell of experience before dinner.
He is back from State, electric in fraternity
T-shirts. He unpacks, leaving
the condoms and Jack in his bag.
Tall, tan Hatter pours himself a double.
His laughs shatter the phone.
Still a master of shadows, her black mane
obscures a smirk— a dare, try me,
rows of teeth impossibly far in her mouth—
a boyfriend manifests from between two elms
an unmanned car drives itself for hours—
Cat whispers a call into the barren
windswept silence, and as she opens
her mouth— a haze of moths—
all of this and no hello.
The shrinking house grips a thin wrist
between window and sill, pinches a toe
between neat joists. Footsteps.
Perspective twists, fun-house mad,
and whirls the world before vanishing
Nothing but the shrieking of birds
and the vacuous gasp of the universe
expanding one last time.
Diana Smith Bolton is the founding editor of District Lit. Her work is forthcoming soon in Cider Press Review, Coldnoon, and If and Only If. She lives in northern Virginia with her husband and charming mutt. Find her online at DianaSmithBolton.com.