Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hermit Crab

Stephen Burt (2013)

That shell is pretty, but that shell is too small for me.

Each home is a hideout; each home is a secret; each home
is a getaway under the same hot lamp, a means
to a lateral move at low velocity.

I live in a room in the room
of a boy I barely see.

Sometimes the boy & his talkative friends raise
too-warm hands & try to set me free

& I retreat into myself, hoping they place
me back in my terrarium, & they
do, with disappointed alacrity.

Scatter patterns in sand, adnates, cancellates, gaping
whelk husks, a toy tractor-trailer, cracked
and dinged, beside the spine of a plastic tree,

the helmet-shaped shelter of a shadow cast
by a not-quite-buried wedge of pottery . . .

if I have a body that's wholly my own
then it isn't mine. For a while I was
protected by what I pretended to be.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Dream of a Fire Engine

Kimiko Hahn (2012)

Without the sun filtered through closed eyelids,
without the siren along the service road,

without Grandpa's ginger-colored hair,
Mother's lipstick, Daughter's manicure,

firecrackers, a monkey's ass, a cherry, Rei's lost elephant,
without communist or past tense,

or a character seeing her own chopped-off feet dancing in fairy slippers,
or Mao's favorite novel about a chamber—

the scientist of sleep has claimed
that without warm blood a creature cannot dream.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Ode to a Man in Dress Clothes

Gretchen Marquette (2013)

When I see a man
in a dress shirt, I want
to walk up behind him,
place my hand
between his shoulders,
to rest it there
for a moment. I think
about his socks, how
he chose one pair
that morning and the rest
are still at home
in a drawer.
And his shoes—
god those shoes, they break me,
especially when they're polished, what
does he do to make them shine
like that, yes, all it takes
is a pair of shiny black shoes and such
a wave of tenderness
collapses over me that I see
his ties, at rest
on their little carousel, imagine
that he held them up
in the mirror
at the department store,

Monday, July 1, 2013


Michael Ryan (2013)

What kind of delusion are you under?
The life he hid just knocked you flat.
You see lightning but not the thunder.

What God hath joined let no man put asunder.
Did God know you'd marry a rat?
What kind of delusion are you under?

His online persona simply stunned her
as it did you when you started to chat.
You see the lightning but not the thunder.

To the victors go the plunder:
you should crown them with a baseball bat.
What kind of delusion are you under?

The kind that causes blunder after blunder.
Is there any other kind than that?
You see the lightning but not the thunder,

and for one second the world's a wonder.
Just keep it thrilling under your hat.
What kind of delusion are you under?
You see the lightning but not the thunder.