Readymade | Jennifer Battisti
Updated: Mar 30
This summer we plant no annuals, buy no drugstore
snapdragon seeds to bury in a paper cup. I start Sophomore year
with wash out pigment that stains the tub Burgundy Blush.
Mother’s cigarettes are abandoned long before the filter reached,
forgotten curling irons hiss and burn
amber hot spots into ceramic countertops.
Chewing becomes a hassle—lowball glasses fill
with lemon rinds and maple syrup,
cayenne pepper lining the rims.
When it comes to keeping up, we puncture the ground
with identical squares of sharp sod, as if to establish
a lawn quickly.
We tap the greening corners sweetly for 30 days,
and soon, the roots fool even a seasoned landscaper
into believing us as robust as the slow and seedling kind.
We over-measure the yard— everything magnified
by disorder—After midnight and buzzed
from boxed wine, my mother wakes me, cinched in her silk robe.
We heave stacks of the extra grass swatches into the bed of our truck—
the shining blades under moonlight and dirt beneath
her acrylic tips, a dream I follow to the edge of the neighborhood.
We drive into the open desert, the scent of our instant earth rising
off the back, intoxicating us both. We are fat worms,
quiet and kneading into the tunnel of the night,
working to heave our Bermuda pallets until caught by the siren.
My mother, bathed in delinquency, teeters on the tailgate
her eyes wet with Maybelline.
The officer tickets us for dumping unrooted grass,
for trespassing into a heavier, permanent earth,
He follows slowly behind us,
suspicious of my mother’s soil-smeared nightgown,
her dew-choked apology,
while I remember and remind her
which house is ours.
Jennifer Battisti is a Las Vegas native. She won "Best Local Writer" by readers of Desert Companion (2019). Her chapbook, Echo Bay, was released in 2018 (Tolsun Books). Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Manzano Mountain Review, Thin Air Magazine, Coe Review, and The Briar Cliff Review.