Cineplex, Fire Exit

We go to the Cineplex like some go get mega-churched,
but your truth French-cactuses my tongue

during previews, known in marketing as premonitions.
Air-conditioned caramel sticks in my fillings, scolds me

of the form-fitting mouth-guard at home for not clenching
molars, incisors, the shut-up, don’t-say-it,

that Plasticine “everything’s alright here.” I could lose
a tooth, pathway to the grave, and you’re a sad-

sack of wet popcorn as the film hovers
through the darkness like the USS Enterprise.

My brain flickers—which words to use—I can’t read
subtitles and feel at the same time.

You bandage your hand with mine.
I don’t want to sit in the theater with you anymore—

I think you should set yourself on fire,
just don’t go calling it a sunset. I’ve pulled your adapter out

of my plug forever, no more free electricity,
no, I don’t want to light you up. Give me

back my own fire, my lava lamp, my marcher’s torch.
How could I ever think it fine

to let you burn me with my own heat. There’s the exit,
sear your own wounds shut


Elizabeth Powell's first book, Republic of Self, was a New Issues First Book Prize winner. Her poetry has appeared in publications including PloughsharesThe Missouri ReviewThe Mississippi Review, and Slope. She is the editor of Green Mountains Review and teaches poetry at Johnson State College in Johnson, Vermont.
*Photo courtesy of George Kelly.
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