I Need a Sign

You know those applause signs that light up during television tapings? I think I need one in me, not to remind me to clap, but like an animal’s embedded microchip, to rescue when lost. This morning when I asked what you would wear for your meeting, I wish that sign’s bright yellow bulbs flashed behind my forehead, “NOT NOW,” “NOT NOW,” prior to my rounded lips articulating those labio-velar sounds, air expelling freely from my nose, my vocal cords vibrating my rush to words, to judgment. I can’t blame age, my parents reminding my sister and my adolescence to “Put brain in gear before speaking,” so I guess my gears are stuck or broken, my bulbs’ filaments burnt at the base. I know sometimes I can entertain, like last month when we drove the desert to Tucumcari, and I announced, after so many “Vasectomy Reversal” signs sprouting from the yucca and riparian shrubs, a billboard advertising “SEXTAPES,” one, large-lettered word, though our acceleration closer yielded photos of colorful blankets, layered, woven, seamless stripes, and authentic “SERAPES” for sale. I’m not sure how you don’t tire or try to embed in me yourself, but I thank you for years of not presenting me a muzzle on our anniversary, of being my steady, live, studio audience.

Amy Lerman was born and raised on Miami Beach, moved to the Midwest for many years, and now lives with her husband and very spoiled cats in the Arizona desert, where she is residential English Faculty at Mesa Community College. She received her Master’s and Ph.D. in American Literature from the University of Kansas, and her poems have appeared in Rattle, Smartish Pace, Common Ground Review, Prime Number Magazine, Solstice, and other publications.

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