Flight Out of Guest Bedroom

The only book in this house --
Controlling The Japanese Beetle,
the only door she leaves unlocked.
I can feel her guarding her garden,

controlling the Japanese beetle,
the earthworm, the fervid peach,
while she sleeps upstairs, sown
in the mattress like Kansas.

The earthworm, blind as the peach,
stays up reading about poison,
in bed with its Braille map of America,
unfolded and unfolded and unfolded;

I stay up, poisoned with reading
how to confuse the Japanese beetle
by turning and returning the land
with milk. My aunt hoards sleep,

dreams her irregular heartbeat will
throw off poachers. I go down the hall
for milk, creep the boards awhile.
Sheís left nothing for me to open.

Itís how she loves me, off and down,
the only door she leaves unlocked.
Iím un-shelved, fallen open,
the last book in this house.

Brendan Constantine is a poet based in Hollywood. His work has appeared in numerous journals, most notably Ploughshares, ArtLife, The Los Angeles Review and RUNES. New work is forthcoming in Ninth Letter, Mosaic, and Billy Collinsí anthology Bright Wings. His collection Letters To Guns was released in February 2009 from Red Hen Press. He teaches poetry at The Windward School in west Los Angeles. Visit him at (

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761