I need to speak out about death and humanity,
don’t I? The world ends in three hours. All
I have is you, a limp carrot, and a change bucket
on the kitchen counter. The flesh on my elbow
is ragged and hooded. I can almost pull it
over my head like a wimple. I don’t want to see
the aliens land. I don’t want to watch any
rabid volcanoes emerge by the garden shed.
Survival’s no longer a given, a credited voucher.
I’m holding a butter knife, waiting for screams
from the street. I’m a tack in the carpet, point
downward, another failed mutiny. When I fill
a shot glass with bleach, the whites of my eyes
shout Sláinte. When I tip my hat, tiny birds
spatter the crown of my soft, moony head.
We wanted a legacy, despite the arid love life,
the oven in the bedroom. But with such
a rich television lineup, who had time? When
we do kiss, it’s almost like awkward maturity,
a scrap from a burnt future newspaper. Each
new verb is the kid of a tense creole gumbo.
Each noun’s a speechless griot from Royal Oak,
Michigan. Do you like what I’ve done with my tongue?
I wish I had time for a nap. I wish I had shattered
a stereotype. I wish I had lotioned what chafes you.
I know an HVAC man who lives in the ducts
of his clients. He said it’s better than solitude.
Maybe he has room for us, if we scootch, if
you hold me near, torsos pressed before the fire.
After twenty years in and around California, John F. Buckley once again lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with his wife. His publications include various poems, two chapbooks, the collection Sky Sandwiches, and with Martin Ott, Poets’ Guide to America and Yankee Broadcast Network. His website is http://johnfbuckley.net/.