As Long As I'm Not Left Alone

Olivia Sokolowski

What gets me is the mateless leopard caressing
his tracks at the fence edge      a lone peacock
floatie with rhinestone eyes       a warhorse 
sideways in a pool of iron      these are terms
      for a loneliness I thought I had coined      

as a girl      But I will be alright       as long as
no one plays “Kairi’s Theme” from the original
Kingdom Hearts soundtrack      the one that sounds like
walking out        onto a glass ocean with your glass slippers on
      All the way back to the Island      
      of the Desired      its residents dopey
in their spotlights     watching schools of fish
swimming with no trails      never kissing      watching 
      the sway of one huge oak––isn’t there
and less of an oak than the shadow of it      fuzzed out 
and studded with barred owls      you’ll hear them caterwauling
      like a laugh out of the Spanish moss and then

a scream      Oh life please be merciful      I don’t 
need much     just don’t let me die truncated      alone
in my car on the way to Walgreens      because
I might land under one of those oaks      with my name

on a plaque and pink teddy bears     And because there is
      a complete lack of scientific evidence to prove
my ghost won’t be leashed to that tree forever… 
I’ll just let the rye ice go to water while I talk
      to cardinals      I’ll just keep cracking
pistachios the way a lemur might      ore to mouth
until my fingerprints go granita      until my body
falls to sawdust     one happy million kissing flecks.