Monday, October 3, 2016


 Happy People Do Not Set Themselves On Fire

You are slivers of me now,
sharp shards tinged rose,
bloody at the jagged edges.
I get a whisk broom, but when I come back there is a mountain
of chipped pieces that would take a backhoe to remove.
I could curse or cry,
but what good would it do?

When he visited,
the officer’s ears were pointed, his nose twitching every time I smiled.
He asked if you had issues or
any enemies
and when I pointed to your opulent room,
the swimming pool and the collection of Chihuly pieces,
he was not displeased,
yet he snapped his gum and said
 “Amen, amen.  But, happy people do not set themselves on fire.”

In the fourth grade things started breaking apart—
picture frames and garment seams.
You went huge then thin,
thin then sheer,
  a threadbare sheet,
    a gray wraith.
       bones and saggy skin for a daughter.
I bought you burgers and shakes and you ate them,
but they must have come up later,
when we were home.
You said, “I use mouthwash.  Spearmint-flavored.”

Your mother said, “I think Annie told the cockatoo something,” but I asked it once,
during breakfast,
and all the bird ever
did was squall and squawk.


You went up in the driveway,
a safe distance from the garage and house.
Afterward, your mother moved out.
Your hamster died.
But the sun still comes up.
I see your girlfriend still updates your Facebook page,
Posting things you might be doing,
thoughts that could have occurred to you were you not cinders.
It’s creepy and sweet all at the same time.

I bought expensive colognes from Nordstrom and spritzed them around
the house but it is too big,
just me and a maid who comes every two days.
Doesn’t matter how high the stereo is
Or how much Aqua di Gio I spray,
the reek of sulfur is everywhere.

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