What frightened me about my time
on the farm? Let me start
with the death of it all, electric
fence plowing field, my great grandfather,
mounted on a rusted tractor,
sat me down one morning
when I was old enough to play
What frightened me about my time
What was less clear:
Why would an underwater pig
require further moistening?
But such are the mysteries of life.Read More
…nonetheless, I pull the trigger and the spring lock releases
and the two fly swatters double smack you in the face
—and this wasn’t because I thought you a fly
—Mother won’t have him in the house. Malodorous little rodent, she calls him. Have to keep you here at the station, don’t I? You’re not a rodent, he said into the ferret’s fur. You munch on rodents for breakfast. We’ll never have rats in our jail, will we?Read More
when i say, i’m crazy, they hear,
i’m an adventure. when i tell them
about the disorder, they tell me
i am beautiful. i know i am
beautiful. i also know i have
It’s another nice mess they’re in. This time the boys
are working in a sawmill, and they’ve driven their car
through a band saw, splitting their differences.
Ollie fumes. Stan blinks and scratches his head.
Oh Mr. Roth—how to get old. How to come to terms with the inevitable. With our own short-sightedness. How not to feel regret? And where to find solace? In the moment, right? In the playing of each moment as if it were our last. Except that’s no way to live—though it might be a way to make art: and if you’re an artist, how to separate one from the other?Read More
today i am announcing that
never again will i red-circle a letter
thats supposed to be capitalized,
the decisive moment arriving when
kevin ramby sat at my desk
and i pointed at the word i
in his gatsby essay
and he couldnt tell me what
was wrong with it,
He places his mouth over mine and releases a slow, deep exhalation into my mouth. I don’t pull back as I breathe it in. Ali and Jason are making out. I’m high, I feel like a cloud, like my head is separated from my body and for the first time this ethereal lure removes me from my mind and allows me to surrender.Read More
I’ll be home shortly if this is only a kiss, a short kiss, a momentary lapse, the death of a star, not to be felt until much later.Read More
I think I know how she feels. In California there was an heiress who believed she’d die if her mansion ever was completed; the workmen kept adding crazy little rooms and windows and stairs to nowhere and were still working on it when she died.Read More
The idea crept into my mind, and festered, that maybe Shirley wasn’t even a child at all, that our “daughter” was actually an underdeveloped twenty-something escaping the barbed poverty that forces people to prey upon the good intentions of others in order to survive.Read More
When we were a farm, I had three tall stalls. One for the old gray
mare. Remember that tune? One for the work horse. Milk cow too.
Up where it was warm? My hay loft—sharp, stickety & sweet.
“So,” Tad said, “Did you see the aliens?”
Constance and Bill looked startled. As if this was the question that made the evening strange.
Although I was grateful to Tad for raising the subject, I also resented him. I should have thought of it. I placed my clog directly atop his sneakered foot and pressed down gently.Read More
One: break your own spine, vertebrae by vertebrae
until you can fit comfortably in the sole of his left shoe.
The cakes have cracked open and shrunk in their paper cups, letting out their final gasps of moisture while dying, still in the oven.
“Oh, Betty,” I say into my microphone, looking at her with mock-flirtation, “you’ve outdone yourself.” Betty’s cheeks redden beneath their dusty powder coating. The audience murmurs in adoration. My timing is spectacular.Read More
We wrote a novel together. Leaps of imagination—gender, age—opened up points of view. Prompts took us into authentic dialogue, imagined conversations, compression and expansion of time, significant details, descriptions, revision, and research.Read More
Some of us aren’t meant to survive, even if everyone is constantly telling us how. Even if we have the blueprints for everything we’ll ever need. We just keep buying the wrong pants for our blood types.Read More
Walk among petrified cacti in Arizona. Drive through the disheveled planes of Texas where dryness has cracked the earth and made it buckle. Say, “I love him, but I think he has a drinking problem.” In the time it takes to cross Texas, resolve to ask this question, which isn’t a question.Read More
We feared health inspectors. We feared someone with a clipboard and a badge coming in and asking to see the back rooms, the prep kitchen, the basement. At any time someone could shut us down because of the obvious rat infestation.Read More