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
Julia needs a few things. It’s a Sunday morning and she’s been up for a few hours. Sugar, baguette, Chapstick. Her husband Bobby, who is closer to her father’s age than her own, sits in the living room, watching political talk shows. He’s already said to the TV, “This guy’s never told the truth in his whole life.” Then, “Oh, my god, I knew this was going to happen.” They’ve been
The source of the accusation was a student who claimed the man had stolen her ideas for his last, most successful novel, stole them right out of her computer, hacking in, she said, even after she bought a new computer, carefully protected it, did not connect it to the internet, changed her name. Still he bore in and stole, wiping her words, leaving others in their place, violent images, coded threats
The tough girls stand in the bathroom, applying Lee press-on nails. Simone’s their leader, and she leans against the grey cinder block and hotboxes a slim menthol cigarette. Her bangs fan up toward the ceiling, stiff and shining with extra-hold hairspray. They are epic. I shrink into my stall and hide behind the scent of glue and smoke and the iron of the trash bin where we throw our used pads.
Months ago, the bombs arrived in formation, hovering like blimps. At first, we thought they were participating in a military exercise, that they would be leaving soon, but they remained in place, silent except for a barely audible buzzing that disrupted our cellphone signals and our cable reception. “You’re blocking our sun,” we shouted at the bombs. “Our gardens are dying,” but there