Shana Ross

The Bonsai is Faking it

In one of the houses from my childhood
The water would scald you if you flushed during a shower
And the sink in the bathroom didn’t drain

So when I am too tired to fully remember that I have escaped
I walk to the kitchen sink to wash my hands

The stove couldn’t keep a pilot light going so we
Made do with matches, a drawer of matchbooks
Gathered like berries and mushrooms from bars
Boiling water for tea in a saucepan since we had no kettle.

Every home is impoverished in its own way.
Every bonsai is deformed on its own terms
Trained to mimic a real tree.

In my basement is the computer
I summoned into being, magicked through
Morning shift at the deli, slicing ham and
Large coffee, light, sweet, side of leering
Then three to three shifts at the factory
That has since moved to China.

I don’t know that I will ever believe
A day’s work can be fully digital whispers
But I take the money.

The hermit chips away at the cave
Hoping the next generation won’t be so lonely
If there is a guest room around back.

I only have the one tongue but when very tired
I dream in something else, as if I exist in translation.