A Cautionary Tale for Beginners by Lyndi Waters

I used to think attachment was a good thing and I became a barnacle. Stuck myself to lampposts and mailboxes. My attachments had a gluttonous quality, and I would eat things like paintings of moonlight loitering on lakes, washed them down with rivulets of water licked from my grandmother’s umbrella. In my living room I built a shrine with boards and cinder blocks, and a candle that glowed upon every object my sons had ever touched. I ate the plaster-of-Paris handprints, the small jars of dry bean soup with yarn tied in a bow around the lids, the pretty rocks, and the paper hearts. The candlelight, trying to save itself, clung to hot boli of dripping wax. Homeless dogs followed me everywhere. I ate them. I said to my friends, “Run, hide in the woods,” and so they did. I’m looking back as I tell you these things. Now I like to watch European movies with subtitles. The words make a brief appearance, then leave. More words come, then leave. The characters don’t eat much. There is always a quiet old man or woman, sweeping something in the background.


Lyndi Waters is a Pushcart Prize nominee, winner of the Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Writing Award, and the Eugene V. Shea National Poetry Contest. Her poems have been published in Gyroscope Review, Unbroken, and elsewhere.


Photo by Greg Nunes

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