Our father buys lilies at Casa de Flores, but in Noir,
men hold scarves in their laps. Have daughters hot
as greenhouses. Daughters peeling
their clothes off like leaves. Our father buys flowers
because he’s messed up. Invited
Mom’s least favorite of all his friends home.
Podge & I learn from Mr. Florin
not to trust an unbudding. Not to trust
an eros lily slipping out of its sheath.
March comes. My sister maroons herself
on a foam float in our pool. All sand’s
concrete. Encino Ocean. She is pure tan California
pre-tween. Mr. Florin tells our father
he buys young girls in Thailand.
Our father tells Mom, who spits beer
through her teeth. All men are monsters.
Not all monsters
are men. We study Loch Ness
in third grade. Podge & I whisper Nessie lives
in our pool late at night. She swims
in sapphire, in five hundred watt bulbs. The pool light
& the moon. The moon & Mr. Florin.
A twelve-year-old child.
Mom writes a thick note with Sharpies.
My girls—the note starts. Everything pale
gets pressed flat at some point.
All monsters aren’t monsters.
Podge floats off
to deep space. Mom uncaps
one pill bottle, then another. Mr. Florin takes the red-eye.
Our father carries a port glass to the pool outside.
Mom swallows. Mom
swallows. Nessie swims out to flower pots
beyond the light switch. All girls skinny
dip late at night. Mom will recover,
go under, recover. Mr. Florin flies back in the fall.
Our moon grows red. Our pool light burns out.
Our valley clings tight to each petal
as each petal flutters stupidly, time-stamped & silent,
in no way prepared for the dark.