chicken in the roasting pan,
five minutes from perfect
when you come home from work,
folding me in from behind
we fly to bed; we nest,
skydiving onto comforter
warm down of each other,
gliding to a safe landing
but the smoke alarm protests:
the poultry—is post-roasted.
we get up, inspect the bird,
then oven placated,
we return to roost
The way new yorkers
or how I imagine
they would say
if new yorkers said merry christmas.
It’s that slightly aggressive,
slurred double r in the middle:
cheRRy, teRRible, meRRy-fuck off-christmas.
Anyway, it’s one of the things
I like to hear on your tongue.
What do I think of your body?
Your body is blood and muscle and bone.
Your body is sweat and tears and profusions.
Your body is a constantly-running
collection of happenings
performed through a million
little processes beginning
from the moment of your conception
and ending at the millisecond
of your death.
You body is phenomenal.
The phenomenon of you
for which I cannot
I’m getting used to being ignored.
I’m getting used to not asking
I’m getting used to being
I’m getting used to
I’m getting used to it,
the numbing sense of distrust,
the numbing pain of unimportance,
the feeling of being a forgotten
ornament on a shelf you’ve stopped seeing
as you walk through your house.
I’ve gotten used to being
taken for granted,
or if broken, or
even if stolen from right beneath your nose.
I am a vase covered with dust
next to some knickknacks,
a souvenir, perhaps,
from a nice vacation from a long,
tongue tsk-tsking like unexpected rainfall
on a metal roof
sighing and grunting, rolling,
arms out in awkward angles
cracking displaced shoulders,
a loud and somewhat unsettling
sound, like lightning
and your low, rumbling snores
first quiet and slow,
are now crescendoing into
an angry fight for breath,
for the right
to live through the night.
And I am
reminded of evening tempests
from humid childhood summers,
tucked into darkness with too-hot covers,
listening to the nightly cacophony
of anxious heat
returning to its forgiving earth,
the two reunited,
and together in the storm.
facing away from me
so I drape an arm around you
and you turn,
your breathing returns to normal
as you pull me close
And we fall
back to sleep.
I was not paying attention at work.
I was reading your latest messages,
holding in laughs,
reeling in the goofy girlish grins
that would give me away to my co-workers,
too ready to gossip about my fall in productivity.
And that’s when I smelled the smoke.
I could see the flames erupting like a realization all around me.
I could see you, burning my life away, one fax cover at a time,
one photocopy after another going up in sparks.
Fire at the office, shouldn’t we evacuate?
No. Let it burn the printers to a crisp,
melt the staplers into disfigured puddles,
sizzle and pop the wires and light bulbs,
the fuck have these florescents ever done for me, anyway?
What have they ever done for anyone?
compared to what you’ve done for me,
Compared to the bright little light
of your words on my phone.
The feel of your skin
and watching your mind exist
in a thoughtless world.
If I were an empty notebook,
I would be made of hardy leather.
The front cover would be thicker than bone
and the back cover alone able to hide
my empty thoughts better than any diary lock.
And If I were an empty notebook, the recycled paper inside
would be breath thin and smell like untold stories,
the dog-eared folds of unfinished goals marking the chapters.
But If I were an empty notebook, and you were the writer,
I’d let you flip through the pages, and feel the softness of my skin,
the same leather that others might have thought cruel, or coarse,
but of course to you, would soften in your hands.
And if I were your notebook,
I would no longer be an empty notebook
for you could write your name on the first page in ink,
and let your secrets slide off your shoulder
into my pages for safekeeping.
You could fill me with your jokes and thoughts,
photos and ticket stubs from planes and plays,
brochures picked from public libraries and museums.
You could write the pain and joy and love
of everyday, of every second,
and hungrily, I would soak it up,
holding the moments of our life together,
all the leaves of our time forever,
with nothing but my old and well-worn spine.
is catching water
with oily palms,
like singing psalms
to the deaf.
But I fear
that my throat is sore,
my voice has cracked,
and my hands
have started to slip.
what a silly,
you sandy-toed, foolish nomad,
don’t you know there are so many
pretty flowers around the corner?
and although I’m sarcastic
and hard to get a hold of
through social media
it does not mean
I hide a gooey center
inside my spikey sense of humor
for a nice boy like yourself to dig out.
I am just a cactus with a single white flower.
that’ll die soon, with or without water
so I recommend you find someone
who is much sweeter,
a flower-faced bud
who whispers nectar
from pink petal lips, perhaps.
and forget about me, already.
so I can stand thorny-arms crossed,
blazing hot, dry and angry in the sun
green with chloroplastic envy
in the middle of a dusty
desert by my own
Sing, Muses, of the lust of Aphrodite,
who lives in the the swirling of milk in coffee,
who makes the world spin in sips of conversation
in muffled cafes, where things begin.
Sing, Muses for The Girl who caused the Trojan War,
who was fucking things up far before Menelaus
ever realized his wife was a cheating whore,
who made the mistake of asking for more
sugar in her cappuccino.
Sing, Muses of that baby goddess
who stepped on other’s lives with freshly-formed feet,
who didn’t look down to see the bronze ring
of coffee left on the table when the cafe closed
and a stranger helped her with her coat.
Muses, sing for my mother, Helen,
who grinds coffee beans with her hands
in the home of a younger man, and
who doesn’t hate the other woman,
or my father, who takes his coffee black.
Muses, sing for me, the daughter
who gives away numbers without counting
who visits many coffee shops and drinks lattes
bought by others.
Muses, sing for all the girls
who have caffeine addictions,
who leave wet rings on wooden tables.
Sing for the women with coffee stains on their togas.
There is a young man who broke
his clavicle playing flag football.
The skin traces the healed bone
the way clouds skim the rugged edges of the Himalayas.
I follow the peaks and falls of his past injury with a finger,
try to smooth them the way god smoothed the Tibetan plateau.
I forge a path along collarbone,
find the pinnacle, and pause.
Everest. The highest point
in all of Earth’s surface.