My friend is waiting to find out
if her rapist will be paroled.
They are supposed to call her
if he walks free. I go to her apartment
to help her unpack. She moved after
her landlord fixed her front window
with cardboard. Her new building
has a cockeyed front porch, overgrown yard,
and deadbolts. Inside, I find
beans soaking on the counter, the smell
of sage, and a red curtain with cowgirls
already hung over the kitchen window.
She has too many clothes for the closet
and her books tilt dangerously in their piles
but her tea is unpacked, and she thinks
she can hem the blue dress she got for a dime
at the yard sale. I have my own dread.
I thought we would pool ours together,
make a flood, but being vegan is hard work
and I know a thing or two about baking.
Truth is the pair of us would rather make
something than put something away, rather
have something sweet than a strategy. The cat
will help by pointing her belly to the sky
and we can put the kitchen together as we go.
You see, I have brought news:
almonds were on sale at the coop.
Apples too. Together we can make
a pie or enough muffins to take us
through to the end of the week.
Elizabeth Hoover is a poet, critic, and essayist based in Milwaukee. Her poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Epoch, and The Crab Orchard Review, among others. She received the 2017 Boulevard emerging poetry contest, the 2015 Difficult Fruit Poetry Prize from IthacaLit, and the 2014 StoryQuarterly essay prize. Her book reviewers and author interviews have appeared in American Poetry Review, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Iowa Review, and Bitch. She has contributed art reportage and pop culture criticism to Paper and the Washington Post. You can see more of her work at www.ehooverink.com.