Volume 9 (Spring 2015)

Kim Addonizio

Review of Possible Signs and Symptoms

I wonder if it's a problem

that I still believe what I did at five:

my stuffed animals are conscious beings

and love me with their big plastic eyes.

And is it okay that today I can't get to the grocery store?

What about not being able to orgasm

thanks to the drugs that usually help me get to the grocery store

I should feel worse about that than I actually do.

I probably shouldn't have mentioned the orgasm thing.

There is definitely something wrong with me.

My piston can't connect with my spark plug.

My kitty can't leap to the branch of that tree

the way the squirrel does so easily.

Once I saw one run straight up

the four-story wall of a senior center.

Was that normal?  It's normal to start out

as a small, helpless creature and end up

bigger. Cane, walker, wheelchair:  pretty standard.

My mother couldn't speak at the end,

only look at me with one dazed eye.

It's normal to cry, lying in bed

with your dying mother. I wonder

if everyone's head sometimes feels

like it's pumped full of Styrofoam pellets.

When I last checked my heart

it was plush and burnt straw.

Should I order a different one

or send it back to the kitchen for reheating?

According to this pamphlet

there are several signs that death is near,

but what about that unmarked stretch of highway

that's been washed away? It's normal to drive

forward slowly in fog and rain, to keep

the radio on for company and love

the disembodied voices saying Thanks

for staying with us, we're going to be here

all night long.

Kim Addonizio is the author of several books of poetry and prose. Her most recent books are The Palace of Illusions, stories, and My Black Angel: Blues Poems and Portraits, with woodcuts by Charles D. Jones. A new poetry collection, Mortal Trash, is due in 2016, along with a memoir, Bukowski in a Sundress.

On Libations: I'm a great fan of Campari, which I think of as a writer's drink. I was introduced to it at an artist's colony. Add gin and vermouth and you get a Negroni, which Hemingway discovered in Italy. My own Italian discoveries—made at another artist's colony—include a Campari spritz (soda and prosecco), Campari Macchiato (dry white wine), and a Campari-and-pink-grapefruit in a can that was my afternoon companion as the sun set over the olive trees.