Social Security Office

Nina Puro



I sit, you sit, we sit. Our bones
set. We knit each hour to the next,
stitch the stopped clocks to our mouths, the sills,
marks left on wrists and ankles.
I am yelling through a cracked phone.
We pass out and in.
We make out and up.
Fold our mouths into other mouths,
make cootie catchers and count one two three four.
Moths flutter around the bulb.
A sidewalk choked with torn-off hospital bracelets.
One two three four. Your blown veins.

I’m waiting to hear my name
but not my fortune
or the truth.




We who sold our food stamps, we who write hot checks,
we who are jumpy and cold as the line
outside the Social Security office in February.
Who pour sideways
from stoop to roof and back. Take back

staircases and our time and whatever
isn’t tied or nailed down.
Who tie each other up, get nailed.
I tie off this morning like a balloon full of air
or a last free vein.
A crook can be of a finger, of a tree, of a thief.
I'd like to nestle in the one in your arm
and croon soft songs to it.