Death walled me in an empty house
With books and chairs beneath the house
I built a house
sent his shadow through and pulled it out again
Poor bird, I thought, trapped
on the outside And later
trapped on both sides
In the waiting room,
a plump woman with a gap in her teeth, alone;
two young men holding hands;
a bin of children’s books.
Look, a boy
who can’t shut off
his doughnut machine.
After the procedure he holds her seeing
over her shoulder
two teenage girls
one better looking than the other
who acts like she knows it
each giggling a bit too much.
It is good they can see us, he thinks.
This is how people act
when something important has happened.
They kiss each other in the middle of a waiting room and cry
because they are not thinking
of how they will be seen
because there’s more to life than being seen.
LAST NIGHT I SPOKE IN ANECDOTES
Last night I spoke in anecdotes. Other people,
parking meters ticking quietly with vague
smiles while you drank alone behind the house.
So this morning, I am all improvisation.
Chipotle pepper in the french toast batter,
sex in the neighbors’ backyard, a dissertation
on Yeats. And the afternoon doesn’t look
so good either. The sky has a wet newspaper
too close to its face, and now you’re gone—
with wet hair and all our unborn children.
As I sit here giving them indelicate names
they crowd around the edge of the porch
raising their hands to be called on, rain
streaming down their arms, then through them.
For the first time in my life, I can picture
keeping a straight face. To mean it.
To breeze through the video store with one disc
only, the action film you wanted. Unforgiven.
Not having to ask but asking anyway.
Hey, partner, whatever story you’re about to tell,
I’ve never heard it before. My umbrella
is small, and cheap, and I swear by it.
David Gorin's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in A Public Space, Boston Review, The Claudius App, Best American Experimental Writing, and elsewhere. He is the recipient of a MacDowell Colony fellowship, holds an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and is currently a doctoral student in English Literature at Yale University, where he curates the WAVEMACHINE reading series. He blogs irregularly about poetry for the Boston Review. Follow him on Twitter @david_gorin.