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Mother, does dust

          live on anything fictional?

Can a rat

                rot in a motorcycle wheel?

Does gravity

       come in spoons?

Does bread

       change composition when it’s stale? 

Can a child

               of the Internet be happy? 

Why did I yearn to combine lives?

             To tag him in pictures

in the sphere

            where nothing speaks?

Where animates feign


Mom, do you think love

        can bring redemption? 

Did you gain quick dominion  

             over Dad?

When did I start to love him?

                 It was like pushing a car from a swamp,

but what I poured in was not oil

                   it was madness.

For months after we met,

he’d hesitate, appraising my face


as I ripped open the mail, or teased

a dollar oyster from its shell.  


He’d bike home and recede into

a screen, my day-old joke unseen.


Fervors overripe, I’d squeeze him

out my ears, re-acclimate to my own


orange waters. Then he’d

re-incarnate in a shining swell.


 “Hello!”  his message glowed.

I’d permit myself a grain of hope.


To grope the length that worry

takes to pearl.  Perhaps I’d been


too much myself too soon.

Trailing raw, sopping need. 


I’d tell him: “No pressure.”

Do the women

in our family have a history of unease?

Do we stink of ennui?

At wakes, when old ladies embrace us,

do we return the squeeze?

Do we resent our bodies

because they cannot hover,

or for their flatulence

and sighing in their sleep? 

Do we bicker with our sisters

on the phone?

Do we keep our husbands’ secrets,

or distribute them like sweets 

amongst ourselves?

By the bedroom window,

in our night-gowns, do we linger?

Do we scan the shadowed backyards

for a figure?



That evening

He stood in my kitchen 

eating canned peaches

opening and shutting like an eye 

All week I’d thought of him

crushed out      sweats     heart palps 

the whole works       washed the pans     

flicked the lights     switched the music     

shook the rug out    Then he was there

with acid mouth and       violet tongue

his face         a bare bulb 

the wine going down    down        willing it