Angela Ball

Country of Other Arrangements and Spinach Salad
August 21, 2020 Ball Angela

Country of Other Arrangements

I used to be neatly folded, sound
for carrying. Eyes on, ears up.

I used to be a Japanese maple
in fierceness; a fur-lined teacup

in jeu d’esprit. Raised my share of dust
at the county fair; saw through barkers.

Bike wheels churned kilometers;
horses capered, tied to a light trap.

Holidays respected each other
like tall trees. A dead woman’s hearing aid

flew to a rooftop
and became a bird, enjoying its own

two-note
song.

Spinach Salad

I had these younger friends. We would meet for happy hour, which shaded into dinner as these things do. Two women seemed quite proud of their spinach salads. I had to point out that the spinach would be substantially more nutritious if slightly cooked, to take the edge off the oxalic acid. From one of these women; Tracey, I think; I received a look of pure hatred that has survived a quarter century. If I could relive the scene, I would suggest to Tracey that she murder me. Death would have pre-empted divorce and years of grief for loved ones. Extravagance would have stopped following me in and out of stores, virtual or mortar. Details: engage someone to buy rope, shovel, gun, and/or other gear, then escort them to Quicksand Village, its motto, “You Pay, It Disappears.” After ending my life (I defer to you on method but discourage arson), you would display measured amounts of sadness. If arrested, you would not perform yoga or gymnastics while alone in Interrogation, no matter how great the need to blow off steam.

Angela Ball directs the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. Her sixth book of poetry, Talking Pillow, was recently published by University of Pittsburgh Press. She currently lives in Hattiesburg with her two dogs, Miss Bishop and Scarlet.