2 Poems by April March Penn

Go Nuts!

The car I’m in is being driven by a squirrel.
We’re trying to engage in small talk. I started with
So, what’s your name? He didn’t have a name, he said.
I mean he didn’t say that but I knew. He looked back
at me like I had never stock piled acorns in my life.
Like I was the most useless creature he’d ever seen.
Like what am I doing getting in a car with a squirrel.
And I thought, the nerve.

The next day a peanut butter cookie IS the car,
and the only way to get inside is to take a bite.
And another bite. And another. I don’t ask,
So, what’s your name? I’m too into this private eating ritual.
The squirrel I once saw must be content knowing
that I am stockpiling my acorns so to speak.

The next day after the next day I sneak my head
into a freezer full of blueberries and ask why each
little blueberry has its own plastic bag and whether
that is really necessary, and the squirrel looks confused,
asks me how to organize stuff like humans do and whether
I take the leap between trees or run across the ground.

I don’t know how to drive, I tell him.
He asks if that is the human translation of avoiding
his kind of leaping. I say, Yes,
in Boston, the trees are huge and tall and spread apart
so leaping is scary and makes people anxious.
That’s why they honk their horns a lot.
That’s why they drink so much coffee.
Most of them take the leap before they’re even fully awake

Figure drawing

I told the group I didn’t feel connected to other people
or familiar to myself and that seemed to trigger a cascade
of the usefulness of identity– how knowing themselves
made it better and I don’t wholly disagree
but I’m a box inside a box, a squarish doll,
unamused by a body, an opening that strains the image,
transforming expression into ether strings,
fingers could be mine or light’s dissociation thrown

April March Penn is a queer poet who visits Anne Sexton’s grave and conducts tarot readings for real and imaginary friends. Penn’s poetry is published in What Are Birds, The Offing, The Fem, The Deaf Poet Society, Maps for Teeth, Provocateur, and other literary magazines. Penn has featured in Boston at the Cantab Poetry Lounge and Stone Soup Poetry. Follow Penn on Instagram: @pennapril