The Most and Least Surprising

I only have room for a certain number of thoughts in my head,
and now I’m carrying two other people’s, too. That’s the deal you make,
when you go around creating people. I’ve read that little bits of fetal DNA
remain in the mother’s body forever. I find this both believable and creepy.
The whole thing is creepy, and I must believe it because I was there
when it happened: Hey, remember the two times my abdomen swelled
just like a spider’s, and eventually I deposited a new human being
on a bed-shaped table somewhere? Those were strange times,
and these are, too, knowing I’ll never do that trick —
the most and least surprising one I have — again.


No Person Ever Wants to Hear Another Person’s Dream

I guess it’s not the best conversation opener,
telling you that I dreamed about your dog,
who spoke like a gravel-voiced old German lady,
muttering something about sausages
and the freedom to poop wherever she wanted.
No person ever wants to hear another person’s dream.
To dream about an acquaintance — or his dog —
seems pathological, and to announce it may be
grasping at straws of an intimacy that doesn’t exist:
Maybe tonight, your dream dog will trot down
my dream sidewalk again, with a dream of sausage.
Maybe you and I will spend the night together,
then go back to not saying hello.


Wild Chicago

But that was in the ’90s. It was still possible
to believe in things like
pantyhose or
public sculpture made of chrome fenders,
the timelessness of Seinfeld,
running out to White Hen, when you run out.
All the White Hens gone now,
though J.J. Peppers remains, improbably,
and it’s also possible that, in a cloth cubicle
somewhere, a male designer with a ponytail
works under a mobile he’s made
from CDs, only now
the ponytail is gray, the CDs quaint,
their rainbows tinged with nostalgia,
if not a bit of scorn.
We know better now! We were
ridiculous then, when we were young!
The lake is still the lake, however,
and able to be glimpsed
from the window of a bus
on Lake Shore Drive,
persuading 24-year-old women/girls
not to move back home to Ohio
(for example),
a new crop every year,
and now you know one of those,


Not John Denver

A lot of people still have strong feelings about
John Denver, but I can’t say I do, or at least,
they’re not good ones. Still, though I don’t remember
where I was when I heard the news, it’s always
a shock when a celebrity dies. It’s like the face
falling off a beloved mountain, like Mount Rushmore
peeling itself off into the salt flats or an inland sea
or whatever it is they have there in South Dakota.
A lot of people feel strongly about South Dakota,
have a propensity toward Laura Ingalls Wilder,
but I can’t say I do, though if I had to toss
a balloon made from a pig’s bladder with
any dead celebrity, I guess she’s the one.

Not John Denver.


Over Wing and Under Cloud

But I worry about my hummingbirds,
whether I taught them enough manners
and how to poke a wolf’s eyes out
if they need to. Somewhere
over wing and under cloud, they
scud around without me like
leaves that have forsaken their tree
as I stand here in the doorway,
eating what’s left of the sky.


Raisin Sauvage

Please enjoy the Raisin Sauvage
I flambéed lovingly with thoughts of you
and brandy. How the sun leaps into
your glass of port, as if chasing itself
down a crooked alleyway in Lisbon!
You are a fine crumpet, and I long
to butter you — have I said too much?
Have I offended, even while basting
this leg of lamb? Please admire
the river stones of my hearth,
the fire, how it suggests
heated exchanges in sheets
of Supima. Later, I will drive you
over the bridge and back, my love,
one bridge and then another.