Arsenic Lobster poetry journal Issue Thirty-eight
Summer 2015
The World Is Not a Bowling Ball
Courtney Elizabeth Justus

I have smelled the hubris on your letters
and I understand. Actually, I don’t,
so I went to the zoo to watch penguins
in the hope of shaking your words
like I do my boyfriend on a twin bed
at his mother’s house. Except that I don’t
have a boyfriend whose mother I could
compliment, eat her scrambled eggs and talk
about Jimmy Fallon on the TV set, lip-synching
like a stoned baboon with girls in crotch-tight
miniskirts and peanut buttered smears of
lipstick. Maybe if penguins understood Jimmy
Fallon and why I am sad, they would stick their
little heads, like polar bowling balls,
out of the tank and make human words
like in that movie Happy Feet. But
they’re not going to. They refuse
to teach me how to dance salsa
and smoke a bong and handle a
revolver like a meal of anchovies. But
the world is not a bowling ball I can
throw at these frustrations. I cannot hurl it
at penguins or at my inexistent boyfriend’s
mother. I just wish I could penguin-watch
with you, because you taught me why
the world is not a bowling ball, and maybe if
we saw penguins plucking anchovies and bobbing
like plastic water bottles in the tubing river, then
we wouldn’t have to worry about whose bed we
shake on, because we are not bowling balls,
trying to throw ourselves at
a world we don’t understand.

About Courtney Elizabeth Justus

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