Spectacular Failures & Other Gifts
Second most miraculous: I'd kept my lipstick all night,
stuck to my palm when I came to on Jack's bathroom floor.
Crinoline ripped, hem wine stains, earring lost to a grave
behind the toilet. Friends on the couch, rehashing my party.
Faces said I looked wrecked as I felt, wrung-out stomach,
throat post-exorcism. In daylight the gin cask lurked
like a monster. I went to you in my uninhabitable dress.
You tucked me into your bed, white noise machine purring
oblivion; I surrendered my life to you, angel sent to earth
to pluck me from the cataclysm of that year and cradle
my desperate bones into something sacred and deserving –
the first girl who broke my heart, the apartment I loved
infested with bugs that wouldn't die. Every terrible leaving
rendered transcendable: your hands in my hair. I slept.
Hours later in your kitchen, a vision in flannel and denim,
you warmed leftovers, root vegetables with herbs, and
right then I believed in an order to the world, some grand
unknowable plan to guide our scuffed, stumbling souls.
Betsy Housten is a Pushcart-nominated queer writer and massage therapist. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Cold Creek Review, Terse Journal, Cotton Xenomorph, Vagabond City, Bone & Ink Press, Burning House Press, Longleaf Review, Memoir Mixtapes and elsewhere. She lives in New Orleans, where she is pursuing her MFA in poetry.