We shared DNA on a vegetable pork roll in the Metropolitan museum café. I washed it down with two Prelief. He inquired what was up with the pills. I didn’t bother to explain; he doesn’t have empathy for the sick. I’d seen a violet bump toe in a display case of mummies. It seemed odd and happenstance. I imagined fanciful stories—perhaps the curate had forgotten it in his rush. Perhaps he
Tired from shopping at the mall, my purse getting heavy, I took a rest on a new sofa near the up escalator. A woman engaged with her smartphone sat at the other end, speaking loud enough that I couldn’t ignore her side of the conversation. She and her husband had been taken to dinner by a man who’d spent the evening asking about them but saying little about himself. They had “an inkling”
His first Volkswagen was very beachy, its paint job faded blue almost to white, the interior stripped to bones. We had sex in the middle of the night in the fallow lot between ranch houses. I was always underneath on the weedy ground. I dated a physicist who smoked marijuana to trudge through weeks of programming about subatomic particles. There is no alternative medicine. There are only
So you ask, “How could anyone so drop-dead gorgeous be afraid of mirrors?”
I was like, I’m only seventeen and my face is a minefield of pimples (well, maybe only one big one) and my cheeks are this sucky red, almost like a rash. All I could think of was this girl named Rose, who all the boys called “Rosacea,” and who Alex Youngblood said had lip herpes from going down on guys.
I was telling
On the way home from the pharmacy, we drive through the shadow of the legendary college football stadium. Our son twists in his car seat for a better view of the massive bronze statues of players—glorious, muscular, helmetless young men, running or throwing. It’s just past five in the evening, late November, a few days after a big home loss, another season’s championship hopes dashed.
after Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Conjurer”
Useless glasses perched on his nose,
The thief gazes skyward in false supplication
As he grabs the dangling purse.
The globe window above
His head seems to tilt in a seasonal nod
To what’s at stake in this entertaining scene,
Which is a window into being.
Distracted by the trick,
By the magician’s sleight of hand and all trinkets
Of this magic
She watches him remove her clothes from hooks, fold them into a suitcase. The tapioca he brought from the galley, same beige as the plastic bowl, same as the paint on the dorm walls, still untouched on the sill of the window she now looks out. Below, powdery snow sweeps over volcanic grit, over tri-wall bins full of food waste, aluminum cans, glass, things brought then removed from this continent.
The flies have invaded our country. They move, through the sky, as a mob, bunched together like plump dark grapes, black buzzing clouds so large they block the sun. Some masses are balloon size, but more often larger, the size of buildings. They gather on windows, obscuring the daylight, the outside. Their buzzing’s so loud, prolonged exposure provokes headaches and, for the unfortunate ones,
GREATNESS AT TWO IN THE MORNING
Writing a poem in the bathroom
of an exceptionally small Paris apartment,
so as not to wake my wife who’s sleeping
well enough for us both.
A poem of no general or particular
significance—which means it has a great chance
of being a poem of general and particular significance.
About a man who’s looking for his pants
and a woman dressed as a clown fainting
Pete and Marg next door called emergency services because the bottom of their garden has fallen into the arroyo. “It’s all this heavy rain,” they say, over and over.
The lights and sirens arrive as I finish in the bathroom. I’ve passed the embryo, cleaned away the blood, secured double night time sanitary pads and put on clean clothes.
I’m all shored up.
From my second floor studio, I see
The Committee meets at the usual time, five minutes past the hour, giving everyone a moment for machine-made coffee and a cigarette if they want it while the applicants wait in a large room with eight chairs (more than needed!) and some art outside our offices. They have the same coffee we have and sometimes biscuits.
Today’s first story under appeal was printed fifteen years ago but the writer
SOLAR ECLIPSE IN THE LAND OF SANDSTONE HOODOOS
Between hoodoos and the ghosts of whooping cranes,
day dies too soon. Secure in hogans, Dineh sing
against the sorrow of light’s vanishing.
The white wolf flops under a rabbit bush, moans
at the kingbird flying low to catch gnats and blow flies.
Long shadows take us in their hollow mouths.
We listen to sky’s intelligence, wait for the shift
Sun came in through one half of a window—the other half was covered by a wardrobe that he used as a pantry.
Light through the uncovered half like a two by four.
The wardrobe–he wasn’t able to get it upstairs and the wardrobe had turned out to be functional for him anyway. He’d told people this, the couple
When the older boys lob it, jeer it in the hallway between classes—voices that say “I’m joking” … “We get it” … “I’m untouchable” …
When you type it and your dumb old Mac responds: a red underscore.
When, on the soccer field, Chad’s not using it when Scott’s talking back, he’s spouting other words, flaunting an impressive store, his face pink, his shirt soaked, until