Subjunctive Fantasia (II) | Portrait of Sandra Bullock…


poems by Julie Marie Wade


from Subjunctive Fantasia (II)



If I had a son, I’d name him Zebediah
& call him “Z” for short.  I’d buy him
a pair of denim overalls & iron
OH MY GOSH on the front pocket
in ransom-note lettering.  “Z” would be,
no doubt, tall for his age & highly precocious,
so at sixteen he’d grow a mustache,  &
I’d take him out to the bars. We’d play
pinball awhile, & I’d do some shots. Then,
Z’d smile at me over a Zima, his signature drink,
thank me for being so cool.  “What?” I’d shrug,
my head shaved clean as a cue ball, Jose Cuervo
hot on my breath. “You know I need a
designated driver.”


If I were a car, I’d be an el camino.  (Is an
el camino even a car?)  Well, anyway,
I don’t mind a car in a kind of identity crisis.
I don’t mind a truck that can’t make up its mind.
But if I were a vehicle of any sort, I’d be a sleek,
osprey-grey el camino, with a door handle
that jammed & another duct-taped shut & a load of tree bark
to be transported somewhere spread out in back
under a bright blue tarp. The destination
wouldn’t matter, see?  I’d drive around
that way for hours: running stoplights,
taking corners too fast, flexing my last
good gears.  And when a teenaged
cop on a bicycle flagged me down,
I’d shift into reverse, flash him my best,
pin-striped smile.  “What’s the matter, son?”
I’d say, the diesel thick in my throat.
“You never heard of joy-riding?”


If I were a television, I’d be turned up too loud.
They’d go looking for the mute button, but to
no avail.  They’d try to change the channel, too,
though invariably I’d land on something bright &
burdened by nostalgia—Maxwell Smart gabbing
on his shoe phone, Mary Richards tossing her
black-&-blue tam.

I’d play old-time movies, on TCM & AMC,
all but Casablanca, which I never liked. I’d show
Katharine Hepburn in her high-waisted, Hollywood
pants, Jimmy Stewart leaning over a bridge, professing:
I’m not a praying man.  And all the Doris Day-Rock
Hudson pics that any praying man could ever stand.
I’d be set to Pillow Talk & Send Me No Flowers,
delayed-fuck story lines & guys who wouldn’t know what
to do with the girls if they got ‘em.

But I would know. I would blink my Technicolor
eyes & never tell.


If I were dessert, I’d be one of the ones on fire.


Portrait of Sandra Bullock as the Last of the Movie Girlfriends

On my wedding day.  A married woman to my right,
a single woman to my left.  {Bracketed, braced.}
My would-be bridesmaids.

But this is a cinema, & not an orchard.
This a diversion, not an elopement.
These are, after all, the Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.

{Review: “a chick flick for all seasons”}

The woman to my right intuits {correctly}
that I have fallen in love with the woman to my left.
The last one left standing.  The only one I couldn’t bear to lose.

Outside, my white dress in her back seat
melts like a cupcake, like meringue gone sour.
I keep the garter, for sentimental reasons.

{Tagline: “The secret is out.”}

I couldn’t care less about Rebecca Wells,
but her titles always seem to apply.  For instance,
Little Altars Everywhere {why, oh why?}

Now Sandra Bullock stands in the kitchen, her pert clavicles
exposed, the palms of her hands pressing lightly on the counter.
For me, in my squeaky chair: a little shortness of breath, a little tremor.

{Keywords: “Personal History/Sentiment /Estrangement/”}

And I understand that she is posed—as we all are, one way
or another.  But this other beside me, our wrists brushing in the air-
conditioned dark, heightens these apperceptions, quickens my {giddy/guilty} pulse.

No longer inured by obligation, expectation, I seem unable to stop blushing:
The Vanishing, The Thing Called Love, While You Were Sleeping…why had I
slowed them down that way—the pause & play, persistent freeze-frame
& relentless rewind?

{Genre: “Comedy/Drama”}

There was something, clearly, I had wanted to see, still more I was frightened
to believe.  Everything looked different on the silver screen, all my senses keened,
winnowing to form that golden ring of light around the woman’s body.
But when I looked away,

when my eyes adjusted to that shadowed space, I was no less transfixed {& no less
altered} than the first time you cast the net of your name, & I became entangled,
listening. I knew on my wedding day: I would not see men again,

not in the same way.



Julie Marie Wade