do you remember the time we didn’t go to Topeka
we were ready to go with our sandwiches packed
and you had your harpoon and I had my headdress
but we didn’t go though we agreed it totally boffo
we could go to Topeka whenever we liked
but I said I’d rather live here than Topeka where
all they have is a crummy zoo and whoever
heard of Topeka anyway so we didn’t go
and spent the day instead alphabetizing
the pantry quipping how this had become going
once there were particles, atoms clung
together & glue
there were noises from the bang
another universe begun, life
& the body formed, a shape
obtuse the head splendid. o human.
They arrested the husband, who said he turned his back
for only as long as a man’s urine takes to hiss steamslicing
through concise spring air
to the ground
at his feet and when he turned back around to face the view
he saw only his wife’s sandal and immediately passed out.
Waking, he crawled to the edge of the cliff — saw
something white below — passed out again.
This was his first story…
Remember how you went away. Now Nature hates you.
Well I want to die but just a little bit every day.
I have learned that everyone has some great sadness.
I will let anyone do anything to me…
In the flattening California dusk,
women gather under palms with their bags
of bottles and cans. The grass is feathered
with the trash of the day, paper napkins
blowing across the legs of those who still
drown on a patchwork of blankets…
We fought all night, all morning, so I treat
myself to breakfast down at Common Grounds,
a Fayetteville thing to do. A regular pounds
the dregs of a Bloody Mary, and the heat
at 10 is already too much. It’s all
too much: the water bill, my promises,
her steady, undefeatable love…