Thursday, May 20, 2010

the joker ain't the only fool

the queen of spades had dug a pit
for which the queen of diamonds paid.
the queen of clubs pushed him in it.
the queen of hearts peered down and said,
"with me you could've had a chance,
until i heard about your arm,
you're heading straight for indigence,
and god, what happened on that farm?"
"it wouldn't matter," he replied,
"that i can't fill three other suits,
if i could court my fitting bride
without her sisters in cahoots.
i'll never be a king except in love,
and we should start a flush." face-first, she dove.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

bad air

"i spy a may queen, you were miles
above me," younger by four years,
so many baby steps ahead,
like on that hike when you flipped out
because i claimed you never did.
both being wrong was our best game,
but practicing left you winded,
even before the hit-and-run.

you condescended for a while,
walking backwards like a tour guide,
facing me - smart, given that face.
i bought your campus and its state,
and soon, though too late, make-up flowers,
each fight more desperately arranged -
you once suspected florists' aid -
all meant as final, as is this.

on the centennial of the quake
no one could hear if dishes shook,
only two slams, room door and car,
dusting our heels - you'd recall whose
turned first - with bursts of paint and rust.
good bodywork was not enough;
even your teeth figured out fast
you needed crowns i couldn't fit.

we were the sweetest sour stuff,
two isotopes of oxygen,
mass numbers 15 and 19, 
met at 25, 29.
negative spin and positive,
corrosive like the normal kind,
but much too heavy when combined,
technically, practically, unstable.

physicists keep debating why
this mass in me decays so slow,
despite emitting waves of tears.
is this quantum entanglement?
if so, your heart depends on mine,
no matter time, nor distance squared.
biologists, at least, agree
that you breathe better without me.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

sadie hawkins day (for kate)

These rows of houses, arrow-straight,
though old, were not the first
in Deerfield, town whose massacre
we count among the worst.
Little remains of Roanoke;
Williamsburg sold to Disney;
Plimoth Plantation has no ghosts;
Boston grew to a city.
But we can mourn here, Deerfield's name
denotes no "vanished" place:
rebuilt - the clapboard victory,
buried - the winning race.
Some whites turned Indian, more turned real red:
Twenty-five English children, this time, dead.