--TODAY I’M SO HAPPY THAT EVERYTHING IS FALLING APART
The Photo of us in Saint Barts Where I’m Tanned and We’re Smiling and You’re Thin
was taken before the slaughter,
your new boyfriend,
the day you tore nails across my cheek,
and asked if we had cat problems.
Our bathtub is filled with buttons--
mother of pearl and metal,
plastic pea coat shapes with
wooden toggles from Holland,
horn and hemp.
Your hair is a gray dandelion gone to seed.
Your eyes flit like a startled squirrel
and saliva webs your mouth when
you open the door.
“What on earth?”
Later in bed that night
I listen to your coarse breath, your frail bones
moaning as you toss and turn.
But we were young once,
and you stitched beautiful things then.
You dressed queens and saints,
men with money.
I slink off the mattress now,
and click on the bathroom light.
As I slide inside the tub
the buttons chatter and gossip,
their color shimmering.
Perhaps you clipped them
because they reminded you of better days,
or maybe you overhead me on the phone.
Either way, I grab handfuls and watch them clatter
across the great heap.
When I look up,
naked but smiling.
You ask, “Is the water warm?” Then,
“Got room for two?”
I Am Off
She scowls and lights the words on fire.
“Why do you always write such wounded stuff?”
Then, she says, “There you go, there you go again.”
She means I am off,
I am looking eastward,
over that herd of hills
to a flat land
and a dark place
where witches burn their enemies
and children scream for mercy.
She’s never been there,
I’ve never told her,
so I take her hand and say,
There’s a comedy playing
and we’ll have popcorn gooped with butter-flavoring
and it will be so much fun,
Girls With Insurance
Jackie and Taylor are the girls with insurance,
though Jackie has a black eye
and Taylor wears a nose ring.
They sling camouflage and wife beaters,
kohl and a hiccup stride.
They’d be yesterday’s charade if it
weren’t for the weapons,
the bombs strapped down
like the flat breasts
all those jocks teased them about.
Recently there have been
You call them adjustments.
They are new flecks of light in your eyes,
a stare over my head,
busy fingers on the key pad,
a new book by Doone.
I am letting things out, too.
When I see the tailor
he says there’s enough fabric to expand the waist
three inches tops.
Then he says, “These things”
but never finishes.
When he’s done I hear the noise on 52nd.
It sounds like a war.
A cab takes me south toward Soho
where I know he lives
and you’ll be.
It’s time to get this fixed.