Looking back, I could’ve stopped it. When my uncles, my mother’s brothers, the five-headed mass of them, cornered me at her funeral and said, “Irene was a saint,” I could’ve said no, she wasn’t. Could’ve said, you didn’t know her like I did.
One day, the ice sculptor began to melt. As it happened, he came to realize he had a few regrets. He regretted having become an ice sculptor for one thing—there was no stability in it, it had never quite felt like a solid career. His parents had hoped for a more conventional sort of success.
Polly was supposed to be an expert, but she couldn’t do it anymore. How does one stay balanced and regulated when the world is overflowing with stupid and greedy and your mom is dying and your child just got called mop-boy at school even though she’s a girl and beautiful to you and you promised yourself you would lose weight but you ate three cookies waiting for the water to heat for your first coffee and your phone therapy clients have problems that make your life sound like a dream?
When the hammer comes down, the constituent parts of a cell phone will go their separate ways. It is just a beautiful dream left unrealized, but when annoyed by the texting driver or oblivious teenager holding up the line, rerunning it can never fail to brighten the day.
The bridge hung over dark waters there was a place to get on if you wanted to go somewhere there were painted parts where the graffiti had been covered there were torn down posters and fagins the city you could see from the river was the heights the only place I ever sat was by one end looking out over my home and scorning the people and the changing lights but still for all it hung there was one place the bridge could not take you.
To get to her riding lessons, Malin had to peddle her banana-seat bike up a dirt road. One steep hill usually forced her off the bike.
They were there, every other day, at the beach. I used to come every day. To see the wind, hear the air pop like bubble-wrap on the shore. I’d come at night: the wind was wet, free from the tongues of visitors, save me. But I’m more of a resident.
You asked me what would happen if you ate a watermelon seed, and when I said it would grow a plant in your belly, you didn’t hesitate, just popped the seed right into your mouth and swallowed it whole, laughing as it slipped down into warm and wet caverns.
Your mother was fond of saying things don’t always happen, but when they do, they always happen in three’s. So you learned very young to count events, not apples or sticks or stones, on your fingers. When you got to three, you’d start all over again.
You were my first real crush: a “late for Algebra 2 so we could walk into the classroom together, save my art project that you complimented during critique, make my friend look at the bus list for the field trip because I was too nervous to see if we were on the same one, butterflies in my throat” crush.
I got to the high school national basketball championship game where we lost with one second left on the clock when the small forward for the other team, who would go on to be drafted by Duke University, did a tip-dunk that put them within one point, and was fouled,...
Pops begged for a cigarette in hospice. So Beth bummed two smokes off a tattooed nurse, lighting one in Pops’ mouth with hers—two cigarettes kissing. They smoked, Pops coughing and rattling. The nurse glared. Pops died.
Today, the ambulance bulked yellow through the trees for you, and this is the kind of poem I will only show people in the event things turn out fine. In your absence, dusk and summer twinned and twined so I thought of different hills to these, sky losing its blaze...
1) Tommy, the tiniest boy on the 1st-grade playground, becomes the object of your desire as you chase him, screaming Daddy, please, Daddy, momentarily forsaking your very own doting daddy at home.
half a percent of baby seahorses survive to adulthood male seahorses carry the children & lay them on the church steps at the feet of God my brother & me we were the children we had a holy light within us & everyone told my father you carried such good boys
Einstein, wearing a grey, stretched-out sweater and worn, baggy pants, stood in the center of the elevator car, some papers and folders tucked under his arm. The car stopped at the third floor.
It starts with a sound coming from the room you don’t go into anymore. The first time you hear it, you convince yourself it came from the kitchen.
I wanted you to be delivered, hoisted up and kept safe. The sharp shells beckoned. The night was supposed to blanket, warm, safe, instead of rocks.
These are the facts of my father’s death from the New Orleans Times Picayune a few days after June 9, 1974: The death of Godfrey Kirkpatrick, 39, 1740 Jackson Ave., who was found hanged at his residence Sunday night, was still under investigation and unclassified by the Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office Monday
The complex phobias knew they were superior. They conquered adults, not mere children. They were difficult to treat. They fucked up big chunks of people’s lives. Someone with arachnophobia or aerophobia could pretty easily avoid spiders or planes. But try making a decent life with agoraphobia.
He squeezed the trigger. Click. He squeezed again, twice. Click. Click. Impatient, he tossed the pistol into the field of ripe wheat, flushing out a murder of crows, then turned back to his canvas, a changed man.
The father doesn’t know where he’s going. He tells the mother to pull the map out of the glove compartment. Two little girls in the back seat. I want ice cream, the smaller one says. She is only three, but already a princess. This is how she will be the rest of her life.
If you ask me why I left Michigan,
I would tell that you that it wasn’t because
Of the weather which left me with a bloated album of waiting
for the blackouts
My son says Santa isn’t real, but I’m dying tonight. Snarling at sleigh bells, I sink beneath bloody bubbles into a whirl of bathwater. The Jacuzzi swallows me like a sperm whale and spits me out when it realizes what a terrible mother I am.
Somewhere I read
that if you want
to stifle a yawn
you press the web of flesh
Breathe through your nose and make sure the scent is inside the shed, not lingering from the critter’s wanderings the night before. Check you didn’t give her passage by leaving the door or window ajar. Find the hole.
Grief, n. Seven brush fires raged in my little county on Labor Day. On sidewalks, paint spells Careful, but you have to be looking down already to read that. A town on the eastern side of the state is gone now. It took only three days. You know what else happens in...
Maybe if I dress better, in swank pant suits. Maybe if I style my hair differently. Maybe if I cut it shorter, so it looks tamed. Maybe if I wear it longer, so it looks feminine. Maybe if I wear makeup. Maybe if I get Botox. Maybe if I wear high heels. Maybe if I wear...
On a short section of the Appalachian Trail, north of Hiawassee, Georgia, I discarded the grief of my divorce like one long apple peel flung on top of the poison ivy growing next to the narrow, clay path. The wildflowers and the canopies stretched tall enough to touch the sky.