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Banana Mansion Sestina, Sam Moe

Your invitation arrives Tuesday on banana

yellow paper, I open the card and a thousand

creamy beetles fly out, you need only ask once

and I’ve gone from dirt road to plane

to swamp-boat. I am wearing my dress rain-boots

the pair you said made me look like a trashy child.

the swamp boat is made of soft trash and Swamp Child

steers close to mud banks but we don’t crash, can a

garbage house save my life? I hear the hoots

of fat-necked cats who eat stars from sewers, vows and

your eyes we eat breakfasts for days plain

toast and I miss you. Staircase mouths you once

braided my hair before cutting its stem. Somonce

means love, says a frog in my ear. I arrive a mild

emotion dumpling, relieved you’re running late, a plain

clothed concierge greets me instead. We eat banana

bread and play gin rummy in the foyer. It rains, thousand

lights flickering before the Power goes out. It loosens

its tie and takes the garbage boat to market. Looks

to me like Power’s not coming back, so we light once-

wet candles, pray for the best. Then you’re here and

we don’t embrace. You’ve built a box house mild mold-

sized tunnels made of cardboard and several banana

beds crafted from old fruit and vegetable skins. I feign

exhaustion, fall asleep on fungal endives, rain

seeps through wet cardboard, it’s a mansion, boots

by the door, scraps of baths down the hall. I’m a banana

girl when you’re around, too soft, crying forever. Once

you told me you’d never leave him yet we defiled

the vows and threw gold streamers to the gators. I, house

heart of paper do swear to stand by you. A thousand

lies later we enter the Bed Fruit Hall together, plain

pajamas and nervous hands. I’m sorry I lied, my wild

thoughts tell me wild stories about rubber boots

and the heat they hold. You take the lead, at once

a paper crane and my flammable love. Only when banana

clock strikes twelve-thousand, Power boots

its way into the mansion, wet clothes, consumes the lights.


Sam Moe is a queer writer of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. She is pursuing a PhD in creative writing at Illinois State University. Her work has appeared in Overheard Lit Mag and Cypress Press. She received an Author Fellowship from Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing residency in June, 2021.

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