Cookie, Enclosed By Squares

Christmas Eve 2022

Cookie, Enclosed by Squares 

And rectangles,
Wooden coffins lowered into the dirt, 
Father, brother
Hard heads, block heads.

Locked doors.

Four corners,
and a glossy linoleum floor, 
Splashes of hot chocolate,  
Bounced marshmallows 
Mental patients clutched sloshing cups. 

Window of a white car, 
night blowing in,
a man at the wheel,

passenger with dark shoulders,
sand dunes were tombstones,
sporadic teeth in the roaring maw
of the Atlantic. 

Little Richard on the radio, 
A typewriter and a burning cigarette, 
photographs piled on a coffee table,

sticky layers,
hardened into a single square mass.

Fucking Hell,
Richard spilled a coke. 

Tenement window,
city stifled by skyscrapers,

a clatter in the turning fan,
a stoning,
no, Vittorio,
and a palmful of pebbles.

You rescue the cheetah, old, 
already dead, 
from a dumpster in alphabet city,
A door prize under the theater seat, 
A calculator,
name of a defunct bank in block letters, metallic gold,

an embossed vault.

You’re the winner,
and John Waters loves your coat.

The squared jaw of a man who never met you.
He has written an article. 
He spoke to someone who knew your mother. 

Memory is a monolith.

About the Author

Dia VanGunten scrambled to fill a hole in the spreadsheet because she can’t bear to disappoint you weirdos. So she wrote this Christmas Eve poem about Cookie Mueller. Fortunately, there’s no time to overthink it.

Seeking staff writers and editors.

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