26 SCENES FROM TURNING 26 BY KAROLINA ZAPAL

Budapest 43 degrees sunny blue


shovels scrape concrete winter’s anesthesia


felt in waves




the lights dim in the theater


as usual


a woman is upset


I am in her assigned seat


in this country t / his language h / ER native tongue not mine




“widno” misses its English equivalent


it is light bright


has risen


trending words: god woman art etymology religion wife




C.D Wright uses a winner’s vocabulary


labyrinth cycle invisible lightning


graveyard edge ice fog




in a poetry workshop I was criticized for using “undergrad”


because it alienated my general audience




trending names: Olivia, Emma, Ava, Charlotte, Mia


Noah, Liam, Benjamin, Oliver, William


I think now I will be criticized for naming


my child Oliver or Olivia




my audience doesn’t trend


a l l t h e p e o p l e do not trend together




at a Starbucks on Király utca


cheery entrepreneurs assemble a group of mismatched chairs


from various corners of the store (is Starbucks a store


or restaurant?)




they source 99% of their coffee ethically people must be the 1%


I source 99% of my people ethically coffee is the 1%




I see the word “ficus” but read “focus”


the other who sees “focus” but reads “ficus”


must be able to grow wings see stains


as real colors


when the dishwasher makes a sudden clanging,


noise it alerts me that a glass has outwitted my methods


of security, is making time on stratospheric highways




I blow out a Yankee candle


make / shift wish




earlier I watched tennis balls fall


one-by-one


onto a drum set as he laughed a soft texture




he asks me how to pronounce “hemaztophagy”


I swear on my science degree


I missed class that day




“Do you like girls?” “Occasionally”


throws a lampshade over having to develop


sexually




today’s top tweet:


“I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made” - FDR




my ex has to ask his girlfriend if it’s okay


to collaborate with me on a poem he says it’s his choice to ask


it’s my choice to never step foot in a zoo


but I will someday with my child


watch all the men who could have been his father


ask women who will never be his mother


for permission to meet a little boy who is not their son




I judge you by the enemies I have made




the bathtub has one tile missing


we have to get some heavy bleach he says


I bathe on a stain in the shape of a penis




he starts a conversation then doesn’t text back


I am learning the boring


adult way to hold


back




how can someone live on a balcony


with a marbled child


nailed underneath it




forlorn on Christmas trees discarded


some bundled with improvised rope others ragged




I miss when my parents would come back


early telling me the wind was too harsh


to ski




I wake up singing


in my head: “I watch the crowd flow


and think—I love I love”