Nothing of the Month Club
Wearing a light-weight twill jacket,
a woman walks out the door with her life.
She deposits the key in a snow-coated
storm drain and keeps it moving.
Better the exchange of the hundred thousand
the bank requires for nothing. She goes.
And thinks ghosting is alchemic poetry
the invisible comes concrete. For years husband,
family, a lover, have all passed thru her. She pulls
desire by its ears, wriggling, right out of her hat;
she removes nose ring, vermeil necklaces, brace-
lets, anklets and excuses herself from the offer
of a well-picked-over buffet.
Every month let nothing new be delivered me.
Zero, be my center! If I have learned nothing
from this life I have learned to be grateful
for what I have not.
On Canal street, her husband shuffles three cards
Keep your eye on the queen. He says over and over.
for Jeff Alessandrelli
stephanie roberts is the Quebec-based, Black-Latinx author of rushes from the river disappointment (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2020), a finalist for the A.M. Klein Poetry Prize. Her work has been critically praised and featured in Poetry, Shenandoah, Atlanta Review, The Breakbeat Poets: LatiNext (Haymarket Books 2020), New York Quarterly, and elsewhere. A 2021 Canada Council for the Arts grant recipient, her work won first place in The Sixty-Four: Best Poets of 2018 (Black Mountain Press).