It was only a matter of time before the damp of loss grew within us like moss.
I never actually existed. I didn’t know it at the time, but it’s clear as day.
Their marriage had dwindled to a separation and a running joke.
I wish I could tell him he’s not going to hell. It would be so freeing for him.
My father was neither kind nor strong in his bruising.
Keely finally stops crying when they step outside. The shock of cold.
I have a maple in the yard and from time to time all is distant.
I’m alive, Sarah thinks, the slam of his look going all the way in.
I wanted to tear away at the fabric of my pants, dig open my skin.
All of those feelings—you do not have them, they have you.
You live in this country, you put up bars, you train your dogs to snarl.
No one tells you what it sounds like out in the streets when bullets clang.
The fish’s eye is mangled, tugged inward; blood leaks from its gills.
We roasted mastodons. Designed skewers, ovens, steampits.
There’s no need to check for a pulse, hold a hand mirror for breath.
Men can’t sense like that. Or won’t. Even a father don’t dare get that close.
The irreversible ink stain breaking the face of whatever we skate on.
We imagined the train routes through the heart of the country.
I returned to research a history we’d only known through stories.
He’ll probably try to get her in the sack, just to stay in practice.
Your jumps are numbered. It is better to be a bird without altitude.
Just sugar cubes and a crop for you. Salt licks to smart the tongue.
My mother is queen of buttons. She shows off the prized ones.
Better to be a bird
Or to get out of the game early.
I was once a rider of mastodons, a waitress showing skin.
I want to be rapt around your linger, not Thumbelina under your dumb.
I hate it here, but I’ll make the best of it, because that’s what mothers do.
In that great darkness could I explain anything, anything at all.
The ego with which we began filters away as love accumulates below.
Welcome, little citizen. Lend me your presence, and I’ll lend you mine.
Suddenly two would dart and clasp one another belly to belly.
All her sisters have gone to bed, dreaming dreams not like the wakeful.
Mentors can suggest to you what more you are capable of.
Do we hunger after conflict as much as we hunger after justice?
At nineteen I lived for three months as an earnest cocaine addict.
In that instant, Niel lost one of the most beautiful things in his life.
It takes a strong woman to make any sort of success in the West.
I must never go to the garden without a heavy stick or a corn-knife.
Merwin discovered and restored eighteen acres of abandoned land.
As a shadow I arouse you will you believe the truth of my mouth.
I want to sleep in a bed next to a man who won’t dream of me all night.
Her lips had the scent of the first kiss, and a thirst for justice.
They dust off facts like diamonds that excel in perfection under a monocle.
Whitman may just mean: it is pretty cold, but there’s always colder.
Below, the kiss silently maneuvers our bodies closer to the rose bed.
The itch of hay dust was the unscratchable itch of desire.
I came to computers while trying to run away from literature.
A friend of my father’s once told me, “You’ll never be a writer.”
You are the only one who knows not to pour water on the flame.
In the best fiction, there exists a palpable sense of discovery.
Barbie Chang asks why the evil one always has black hair.
Some days Barbie Chang wants to hang up her Asian boots.
My children, children, remember to let me go, delete my number.
Death is our common ancestor. It doesn’t care who we have dined with.
The Village wasn’t really a village. No walnut trees. Just cut flowers.
I’ll leave a trail of crumbs as I descend into god knows where.
Sometimes you weren’t a good daughter, the mother says.
She was the idiot who fell in love with some high-class gigolo.
To be married is to learn to love, captive in your own new country.
Identify where you came from, where you are, and where you wish to go.
“If the world is becoming a void, the artist must fill it with his soul.”
What is greater: the distance between these bodies, or their need?
I watched to see how the others lived, not knowing I was the Other.
Standing there in our small shadows, we discuss the ways of the dead.
When I saw her, I was witness and weapon both, charging at her.
I bled. God didn’t want to hear about it. He said unclean and so it was.
He always talked of making money with the air of a connoisseur.
Hearing the baby’s cry, Varka finds the enemy who is crushing her heart.
Gurov reflected, “it wouldn’t be a bad idea to make her acquaintance.”
You have to be three times better than the white kids, at everything.
Did you hear about the candidate who grabbed Hugh’s dick?
My spirit twinkles like tea lights above a backyard patio in 1950s Queens.
I love it—watching gray light bleed out over the makeshift bed on the floor.
It is the night of whores and monsters, but without the killings.
His chest was sweaty and his T-shirt stuck to it, bleeding black.
“Ki-Tae the famous pastor,” Jae says to her. “Can you believe life.”
He thinks with joy and conviction that the Japanese are his enemy.
There would be no one to live for; she would live for herself.
For the first time in her life she stood naked in the open air.
Many people remarked upon the similarities between the flags.
No one was awake and I was hungover young as clean as a piano.
At 35,000 feet, the center of heaven, in the deep Milky Way, we meet.
I was free. The first step had been taken, and it was irrevocable.
The hawk moves out of the way to let a little hot package of breath rise up.
I love scientists. They’re trying their hardest. And they just want love.
Something basks and gathers in the dark parts of an open ear.
Salt lick inquest skill-step stalks. All flit, vanish: footfall’s fault.
I slept but never dreamed there. Nor did I feel the need to court a god.
The flail is raised high, back bent in echo of the boys’ backs.
“I can’t hold it any longer. I have to pee,” I finally confessed to Viola.
She is a stalk, exhausted. She will surround these bones with flesh.
And jesse, the smart bombs do not recognize the babies.
won’t you celebrate with me that every day has tried to kill me
When he kisses me, my heart flutters in my chest like swarming bees.
She wears her nakedness like it has been woven from air.
She takes her hand to my scalp: eyes close as if tasting lemon cake.
Elsewhere, perhaps here too, regimes stagger, a congress ends.
The sex in these fantasies was always a product of love.
Heaven preserve me from the Epidemic of a Proud Ignorance!
My husband shovels snow from flower beds back onto the drive.
We were young and lived wild lives in the delightful city of our sojourn.
He will, no doubt, be out of this house soon, headed over to Montgomery.
Forgive me, please, for continuing to believe that roses are beautiful.
Why does she do it? She knows cutting yourself is a joke. Goth, idiotic.
She favoured me with an even more viciously scornful “Don’t care!”
“O youth! The strength of it, the faith of it, the imagination of it!”
Her knees seemed about to give way, and he quickly grabbed her elbow.
I used bravado to protect myself when we lived in poverty.
He begins to realize that the impossible event may well be about to occur.
There was an intimacy to the sound that thrilled me.
Once upon a time, a couple wandered in a glass forest, hand in hand.
To keep the baby safe, we sealed the house as if against bad weather.
We’re phosphorus, we’re this glowing rock under UV light in the mineral shed.
All we knew from my father was that my sister had to be cut from her car.
Centrifugal force circled the beasts until they swirled airborne.
He picked up a fairy disguised as a go-go dancer and brought her home.
He felt desperate for the rains, mosquitoes be damned.
It was half the Spanish he knew—stop, I have a shotgun.
I’ve found that love has provided my life’s happiest moments.
Throwing the El Camino into drive, he roared down the mountain road.
Ah, yes, Rita reminded herself: I won. Her Mistress of Mayhem award.
The sense of power that flights of temper evoke will betray you.
She must know she was a mistake, what they call now a surprise.
I push the stroller across the courts to the scene of the thing I don’t get.
Please look away from Mars dangling so angry in so much darkness.
Close mist around window. I attempt gender. Deposit each letter.
Live Dangerously! If you get hurt, the suffering will bring a new being.
All that existed was Louisa’s beauty—or Khin’s refashioning of it.
The human heart is far more intricate than any single term can describe.
“I suppose there have been a good many men killed in this room.”
I read cookbooks the way I do poetry, with a willingness to be transported.
Chocolate promises a happy ending. I believed in that promise.
This would not be a wooing meal. I was cooking my man into submission.
I grip the handlebar and pin my eyes shut, waiting for the inevitable crash.
For a moment I had the delicious feeling of fitting in without even trying.
Our culture cherishes a fantasy of a certain writerly existence.
We have mysterious inclinations. No one can explain it to us.
I would chase it to the shores of the lake where the killer waited.
“Nobody asked you to write.” Over time, I realized it was a magic key.
You slouched on the couch, naked, in front of the air conditioner.
No matter how hard I played, it was like I was performing inside a vacuum.
Rules are rules. No one comes this close, this fast. Protocol reigns.
“Maybe you should leave the rumba to those who know how to do it.”
He folds on himself like a sheet kicked off the foot of a bed.
The future was spread out for us to go in any direction we wanted.
Later in the pale of dawn your hair brushed across my forearm.
In school, he was called gook, chink, and one boy called him ching-chong.
Since the accident she lost her hold on the world and never got it back.
It’s a mistake to be here, he thinks, but he doesn’t turn around.
The alert says Warning: Wild Exotic Animals Loose.
A woman from the next table eyed him and he eyed her right back.
My wife had time to form a thought: I have killed my daughter.
I’m a big fan of then. A novel needs a lot of thens.
He held a screwdriver to the fleshy underside of Peggy’s neck.
I’ve got other plans. And they don’t center on ringnecks.
He is not in the position to lose a friend. Not when one is all he has.
Everything comes down to the lightning. Nothing is ever by chance.
The mechanism and its crank pull us forever closer, you and I.
Logic is such an elegant weapon; and religion, such an easy target.
I want to dispute that depression is by definition pathological.
In the street waiting for a cab, Ann’s boyfriend entrusted me with the story.
How many times had I passed it in a taxicab or walked within sight of it?
The baby in her belly is not a sibling, will never be their playmate.
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens her first rose
When we’re all together like this it feels like hope is a possibility.
When the thugs from the bank showed, up my father laughed.
“You look like you’re about to fall over,” he says. “Are you all right?”