At Lockwood Café
I thought garlic lasted forever
until I saw the brown holes in its side,
the green sprouting from the top. Nothing
stays young. I’ve melted
so many plastic containers in the microwave
because they couldn’t take the heat.
The only jewelry mom wore without
green gems were her wedding rings
that turn my fingers green now
that she’s gone. I find a bar
where I like to read books. I leave
when the bartender falls in love with me.
I find a new coffee shop with lemonade.
I’m allergic to caffeine. The maple trees
tint my house red in the dying
colors of the day. Will I live longer
alone, or with someone else? Love
is not a safe space and it’s hard
to tell the difference
between privilege and optimism.
They are branches of the same tree.
The worst way to eat yogurt is with a fork
even though that’s the best way to eat
the crepe that holds it. All the voices
of the white men eating breakfast beside me
sound the same, like someone I knew.
A woman says her husband can’t hear
women’s voices. That’s why
he never hears her, can’t listen,
says it’s worse on the phone.
Crystal Stone’s work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in The Threepenny, The Hopkins Review, Salamander, Poetry Daily, and many others. In April 2018, she gave a TEDx talk entitled “The Transformative Power of Poetry,” and her debut collection, Knock-Off Monarch, was released from Dawn Valley Press, December 2018.