Swank Punk Girl
I want to get you a t-shirt
that says Swank Punk Girl
because you’re the only person
I know who could pull it off.
You walk into the room
and immediately I feel like a priss.
Like the sort of girl who used to wear
ballet slippers to school.
You’re hard and practical
like a pair of Doc. Martens,
but the most elegant thing I’ve seen
was when you tied the string
of my tea bag to the handle of a mug
so that it wouldn’t fall in the tea
and get all soppy.
The label fluttered there
near my thumb
like the wings of an origami bird.
And when you leaned back
on the sofa to light your cigarette
I saw one of Gatsby’s flappers
in a black t-shirt and cargo pants
smiling at me
behind the smoke.
From the Silver Cap of My Stanley Thermos
You gave me a Stanley thermos for Christmas that year.
You bought it at Meijer
and there must have been a gift wrapping station
set up near Customer Service
because it was wrapped perfectly,
gold foil smartly creased,
the curly ribbon
silver like the cap of my new thermos,
silver light of a soup spoon you held to my mouth,
silver grit of your hands under my shirt,
silver curve of your arm as throwing a beer bottle,
amber glass breaking,
beer foaming against the wall like sex.
I have to say I was somewhat disappointed.
I had been hoping for something more beautiful.
a bottle of Tunisian Myrrh,
an amber ring
or a jar of whiskey/heather honey.
I had never considered a workman’s thermos
as a possible gift from a lover.
But you said now I could carry soup, or coffee, or tea: orange pekoe
wherever I went.
Because in January you’d be gone
and couldn’t stop by my place anymore,
to warm me up
with a grilled cheese
and soup du jour
from the restaurant where you worked.
I didn’t know then how to appreciate you.
My boyfriend was so unlike you.
He was never angry in love with me.
He never spat out cuss words
like bits of windshield after an accident.
He never gave me a Stanley thermos for Christmas.
He was an exact fold to your rough edge
and I was torn between you.
You unscrewed the cap of my Stanley thermos
and said I could keep anything in it warm for hours.
You said it was unbreakable.
Inside the thermos
there was a paper certificate with a silver gilt edge.
It was a lifetime guarantee.
Heather Abner has a M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan and an MLIS from Wayne State University. She has published poems in Iodine, Main Street Rag, Rattle, The Atlanta Review, and Nerve Cowboy. She is a librarian and lives in Brighton, MI with her husband and two Miniature Schnauzers, Diesel and Brizo. Visit her website.