Meanwhile Downstairs

by Chelsea Hodson

I hung my friend on the tree as a form
of preservation, an ornamental way of looking
at her from below. I was in the mood for worship
I confessed everything, forgot to use my stage name.
She knew the actual me, firing range old man playing me
that record in secret. Maybe I meant to give her my real name
dared her to blackmail me, give me something to live–
I shut up when I heard how my voice sounded. Somehow
somehow I gave her all my power somehow she
lives each day not using it. I told you
she was lovely beneath her dress I was low
on some bar unfit for this bond & I knew it. I knew
if I passed my friend down as an heirloom
generations would keep her safe, her eyes make
themselves valuable. You are sparkling
I said placing her on the branch, captive
applause sounding green. You are
my best friend
–as soon as I said it I knew it
was a lie, I didn’t need tenderness, I needed to be a letter
soaking in watercolor, hey what’s it like
to be above me? Taut bows old arrows aimed at the idea
of my friend’s DNA braiding itself up into myth
& pseudonym. My curiosity killed my desire
to decorate itself. The tree looked like I’d loved it.

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