Rachel Marie Patterson

Metairie (8)

This headache is a sure sign
I’ve been hexed. I wash my eyes
out with soap, then take black coffee
back to bed. Outside, a braid of wires
grazes the clothesline; jimson-weed
chokes the lawn. The day wears on
but the light doesn’t change, or the weather.
A cure-all has just enough poison to stun,
not enough to kill. I’ve learned
not to talk about the oil in the river,
and instead to talk about the next thing
I’m going to eat, or the dry cleaning.
White birds preen in the median.
When I cross the bridge,
I think of what’s under it.

Rachel Marie Patterson is the co-founder and editor of Radar Poetry (www.radarpoetry.com). She holds an MFA from UNC Greensboro and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Missouri. The recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize, her work has appeared in Smartish Pace, Parcel, Nashville Review, The Greensboro Review, Fugue, and Redivider, among others.