I might miss something. The man who paces
his dog as my eyes walk with him between the slats
of blinds. The neighbor girl who always wakes
me anyhow with her cry, You're such an asshole!
And I've been inclined to agree since I heard
him tell her one four a.m. he hoped she'd die.
I might miss the nice blue and red flashing the cop's
car makes on the blind, as it hums outside
as I strain to make out this low murmur, But she locked
me out, Sir. And I would not get to see the lovely
orange that will take this place downand it will,
eventually, with all the gas pouring from my stove's
unlit pilotLovely, lovely flames! I want to watch
them consume usand then I'd still be awake, standing
out on the chilly street, having saved myself, and having
saved myself I'd have to watch everything but me
go down. And don't I care for the neighbor girl?
Maybe I'd save her. I thought of taking a cake,
or some tea, down there tonight. But I was too afraid
she'd come to her door with an array of bruises
I'd have to address. Sleep? Those bruises are hers,
not mine. I lie, I lie. Here, inside the beat, deaf even
to the beat, only able to be the beat: muscle, muscle,
heart, thighs. When the cop car goes away, he stays.
And then there's another sort of cry. In the morning,
I rise ringy eyedand I suppose I rummage
through nights like a raccoon, too, having to sort
out the rotten from the rotten. This night's food satisfies;
day's a porridge that will suffice. And what's there
to say in that plain light, when I see him out walking
the dog? Hello, hellosorry about the disturbance
last night. I must have slept through it, I lie.
Ocean is a Word in This Poem
One centimeter on the map represents one kilometer on the ground.
River I can cover with a finger, but it's not the water I resent. Ocean
even the word thinks itself huge, and only because of what it meant.
I remember its lip on a road that ran along the coast of Portsmouth.
Waves tested a concrete brim where people stood to see how far
the water went. Sky was huge, but I didn't mind why. The sea
was too choppy and gray, a soup thick with salt and distance. Look,
sails are white as wedding dresses, but their cut is much cleaner.
No, I never planned to have a honeymoon by water, knew it'd tempt
me to leave your company, drop in. Ocean may allow boats to ride
its surface, but its word cannot anchor the white slip of this paper.
It cannot swallow the poem. Turbulence is on the wall. The map
I would tear it, forget how I learned land's edge exists. I would sink
into the depth of past tense, more treacherous than the murk into
which our vessel went. Now when I pull down the map, eat its image
and paper, I'll swallow what wedding meant. Salt crusts my lips.