Meredith Maltby is from Chicago, Illinois. She was a featured poet at Design Cloud Chicago’s HERE / NOW event. Meredith has previously published her work in McSweeney's Internet Tendency, The Chicago Tribune, Storm Cellar Quarterly, The FANZINE, and ROAR: A Journal of the Literary Arts by Women, among others. 

2 poems by Meredith Maltby

My house is pink on the first day of the month

 

and grey on all the other days. This is probably because of its hormonal

             seasons. In a fit of grievance,

 

I ordered flowers to my own home. For a few days I slept in the backyard

              under my own mutiny. Sometimes I read, or made tattoo sleeves,

pressed with a wet rag. Most times, I rocked a seed against my teeth until it became very small and sensitive

 

Next door there are loud twin dogs who bother the children living there. Once,

I held a peach in my palm and offered it to them. Only the dogs came up

             and sniffed it

 

In spring my house began to slant forward: it was all the flooding

        The windows with their eyelid storm shutters

In the stove are all my profound and embarrassing diary entries from

the Kennedy years

             Once to applaud death inevitable,

I made a show and kissed the calendar

 

Once to invigorate a sour attitude I hacked out an avocado pit with my teeth

            Killed a moth and left it on the bean bag like a smashed papaya        

Pulled the television cord out of the wall and bit it

            Licked all the spoons, save for the slotted one, which I ate

Accidentally sent my mother a chapter from a novel that began

              Satan’s Grand Ball

Spread cigarettes across my desk like fingers, all pointing

             Licked the television cord into a knot

Poured ketchup in the milk pitcher and threw it off the balcony

              Rolled in the mess at the bottom

And finally, when I was feeling very

             Sentimental, I shoved my will into the crockpot

I left my antique bed out back for months before I took it down,

              Fed it to the dogs

 

INSTRUCTIONS FOR PROPER HANDLING AND CARE #1

 

WHEN YOU ARE 8 YEARS OLD, FEED THE TAMAGOTCHI ICE CREAM AND SUSHI UNDER THE BRIGHT NEW WINTER LIGHT OF YOUR FRIEND’S KITCHEN WHILE IN THE NEXT ROOM MR. LI SNORES LIKE A STONE SLAB.

 

INSTRUCTIONS #2

 

PUT TAMAGOTCHI ON LAWN AND LET ROT.

 

INSTRUCTIONS #3

 

GO AT IT WITH A HACKSAW.

CORRODE BUTTONS.

FEED YOUR PET.

BREAK YOUR NAILS UNDERNEATH SMALL BUTTONS.

FEED YOUR PET.

BITE ANTENNA CLEAN OFF.

PLAY MINIGAME.

FEED YOUR PET.

FEED YOUR PET.

PERCH ON COUCH FOAMING OUT OF THE MOUTH.

PLAY JUMP ROPE MINI GAME TO EARN COINS.

FEED YOUR PET THE COINS.

 

FEED IT IN A CORNER AT A JUNIOR MIDWEST TENNIS TOURNAMENT UNINTERESTED IN YOUR SURROUNDINGS.

 

FEED IT SUSHI.

FEED IT A BIG LEG OF PIG.

 

WATCH A ONE PIECE EPISODE THAT’S MUCH TOO OLD FOR YOU

WHERE THEY’RE ON A DESERTED ISLAND

AND HAVE GIVEN UP LIVING. CRY.

 

DESTROY PET.

BEGIN A LINEAGE.

EAT DORITOS.

 

TAKE CARE OF NEW PET.

EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL AND FULL OF PETS AND DORITOS

AND CRYING FROM THE TV AND IT IS SO, SO BEAUTIFUL

 

AND WE ARE SO, SO SORRY.

 

INSTRUCTIONS #4

 

DESTROY CHILDHOOD. RESURRECT SELF. BUY BATTERIES.