“Discarded Hashtags Are Filling Up the Ocean”: Poems by Elizabeth Scanlon
POETRY: THREE BY ELIZABETH SCANLON
Don’t die on the toilet;
it’s really the worst way to go.
Even Elvis never lived it down,
and he got away (for a while) with fake kung fu,
white jumpsuits, dyed eyelashes,
using the word “ghetto” in a ballad,
You’re no Elvis.
Also, don’t die in the driveway:
the likelihood of being backed over.
Don’t die on the subway platform or you’ll be cursed
by thousands for fucking up their commute
before they even scrape you up.
Oh the eight thousand inconveniences.
Have I become already the person writing about flowers?
And yet you have to tear the dead things away, in order
for more to come. They say you have to.
Though of course in the wild there’s no one
keeping track of when the begonia stopped blooming,
no deer with a clipboard shaking his tender head
and measuring soil acidity, his blackish tongue
probing the roots for diggers. The conditions
are always changing.
Way Down Deep
Discarded hashtags are filling up the ocean,
fishnet throwaway comments winding around legs and fins;
years from now we will see misshapen coral
and tiny-waisted turtles who ran afoul of Kim K’s latest craze
or the weighted-down corpses of things we tried to say without saying.
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Elizabeth Scanlon is the editor of The American Poetry Review. Her poems have appeared in many magazines, including Boston Review, Ploughshares, and bedfellows, and in her most recent chapbook The Brain Is Not the United States / The Brain Is the Ocean (The Head & the Hand Press).