Opposite me, young nurses chat,
holding wheat toast in delicate hands.
One just shaved an old man
and claims she made him laugh.
Even as you read this he is gone
and maybe the nurses and I, as well, because you,
dear one, are the slowest corres [...]
At the deserted assembly plant,
on the siding that once led
to dealerships in Chicago, they wait
in boxcars painted for Barnum and Bailey.
By the electric fence, long unplugged,
we shift tired kids, wondering,
on the last warm night of a murder [...]
One pain forgives another;
mashed thumb obliterates headache.
Malaria returned, dragged your liver
with all your other failures
from that ugly flat
where you burned so many pots of stew
and chased your daughter's beaus away.
In a half cellar, dim, with a dirt floor
wet from sewage and a bad water heater,
one smell, sharper than the rest,
wrinkles the nose of the plumber.
Teeth grind, the scalp tingles,
he waves a pipe wrench at the frozen rat
and steps boldly again. Pipe [...]