Arsenic Lobster poetry journal Issue Thirty-one
Spring 2013
Mortgage Lifters
Liz Martin

All summer the water
came and went and came back again—
our basement a new formed lake,
a wet bottomed cave without light,
an old lake trying to reclaim a lost
sandy shore, or really just a soggy
fucking mess. Our
Realtor wasn’t clear
on these points.

Water rose from the concrete
like a fish coming up for air,
scrambling Star Wars toys with books,
DVD’s, dust and first home hopes.

Men come in jeans with holes so long
their assholes threaten espionage.
Two feet of drywall gone, our
carpets reduced to sodden
squelches of mud without
the satisfaction of stick. Tomato
plants tilted over, their arms out in yoga,
scattered post-hurricanal
like a deer hit by an eighteen
wheeler. The edges of their leaves
curl under. They’ve had the nitrogen
flooded out of them, potted
roots bloated as stringy dead toads.
Mortgage Lifters and Brandywines,
hail sliced, an already cracked stem end,
but malleable sweetness prevails, a touch
of acidity, heirlooms holding strong.
Evolutionarily speaking—
the adversity’s made them tenacious.
So we shuck the floor and walls
to concrete, and hope when we gather
up the fruit, cut, toss, add smoky salt
and eat their scars, we’ll be imbued
with a bit of hybrid indecency.

About Liz Martin

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