I, Buyer

The scratches on the walls are hardware store hieroglyphics.

Coupons from the departed, I would guess.

Messages with black cats and vases and GE appliances

and oh,

those insidious Maytag spirit guides, screeching

“15% off through Memorial Day weekend!”

 

I fear this isolation may be driving me mad,

but not inside a new BMW 3 Series which would be nice;

but instead an old ’77 Impala with bad brakes.

I’ve seen it in the hieros, you know.

 

There are mice beneath my floorboards,

or maybe rats with long elbows

charging ruthless interest

(they have mood swings like you wouldn’t believe).

They are greasy crawling things, but that’s not all, I think.

 

Oh, those boxes under the stairwell,

the smell of mildew and rot,

infested with my lesser judgment.

I dread their capricious cargo, ancient and non-refundable, you see,

everything useless from A to Z.

 

The scratches on the walls from

the postal workers who haunt me:

they want me to let them in.

And I shall,

for they may deliver me from this place

in three work days or less.

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As we went along

You said our wedding rings should be shoelaces. I suggested dandelion chains, but your idea seemed better. So the dandelions, and a few yellow-wearing ants, became your bouquet. You said you didn’t mind. I placed the bunch under your chin, and you asked if the reflection on your skin was the color of butter. It said it was, and it was.

There was no ceremony, no preacher or guests, just you and me and the juncos and the plovers and whatever creatures showed up but declined to chase us away. It was a pretty day, full of air and whispery sounds. You said it was as if we drew ourselves into a coloring book and July crayoned us in. 

We were without guile, you and I, guilt, or greed. We said our I do’s on a rough swath of buffalo grass, you giggling, me stammering, neither of us paying any mind to what this was supposed to mean. Maybe it seemed a bit pagan, making up our vows as we went along, but we spoke as seriously as we could, and the words splashed on us like rain water as we tried to say everything we felt, everything we hoped. I know I felt a shiver when we tied the laces around each other’s finger. I think you did, too.

“I do,” you said.

“I do,” said I.

And you at seventy-seven and me at eighty-three, we probably should know better. And so we do, but this we shall finish.

Dancing queen

I watch my wife dance.

Her hips move, her feet glide,

slippy-slide on the hardwood floor,

her arms splay in an awkward spider-legged oopsie.

I watching her dance vibrato

after a glass and a half of Muscato.

I’m not sure she cares if I’m in the room, and that’s alright.

She does her best rocking to John Denver.

What?

Okay.

Well acquainted

The o’seer of pain dresses in white, his fingers adorned with thorn’d rings, a garland of roses loose around his throat, and he teases a kiss of mercy. Well acquainted, he and I, with his mark purposed to tissue and bone. Look upon him close and his robe is stained, his stance unshamed, his hands filthy from his forge.

Martians

This might as well be Mars, scarred and unrepentant, too distant to glow in heaven. 
Our monuments to youth built with hurried hands, then toppled, then covered with sand.
Do you recall the worth of compassion, of rejoicing in our slaked passion?
No more, we say, no more. 
And so we study upon the sky with our vainglorious trickster eyes, 
our wisdom in cushioned layers, hurling shrill and jagged prayers,
 standing alone, bare and barren, 
with pleasures unfulfilled, and more monuments to build.