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November 17, 2021
I fell asleep with my girlfriend’s head on my shoulder, but woke to a too-familiar absence—one that had somehow followed us down all those highway miles—her body a shadow on the other bed that could have belonged to anyone, could have been an axe murderer for all I knew, but I just closed my eyes and willed whatever future was coming to hurry, I was tired of waiting for it. On my second waking the sun was shouldering its way into the room through the crack in the curtains, my girlfriend now missing from both beds, and the room was made strange by her disappearance so that I flung myself out from under the covers. I found her in the bathroom with her hands on either side of the sink, the water running and There’s something wrong with it Liv she said.
November 10, 2021
        The fathers drowned and scientists were baffled.
          All over the world fathers met their end in water. Fishing fathers drowned in rivers, swimming fathers drowned in lakes, tanning fathers drowned in backyard pools. Bathing fathers drowned in tubs and surfing fathers were sucked in the sea’s undertow. Fathers panning for gold drowned in creeks. A father was found dead with his head in an overflowing sink near dishes slick with syrup from breakfast. A father in a bathrobe was discovered face down in a puddle in the parking lot of a department store. Deep within a national forest, a father was found upended with both black rubber boots stuck up high from a primitive outhouse’s chamber hole. He would have looked funny if he weren’t dead.
          Fathers in other countries, fathers of celebrities, rich fathers, poor fathers, fathers only known in passing, cherished fathers, stepfathers, fathers of strangers and fathers of friends. They drowned and drowned.
November 3, 2021
   The day you told me the world was ending, you had inquired about a particular scent for treating your mother’s lapses in memory (further complicating the matter by saying that your father, the primary witness to her memory loss, was also deteriorating himself). I assured you there was no such perfume.

            As a joke or token of consolation, I showed you a favorite scent of my mother’s, which had played no small part in enchanting my father. It was a perfume heavy with middle notes, or heart-notes, as we call it, which take longer to dissipate. It had no medical basis for treating pre-existing memory loss, but the scent alone was potent enough to provide an olfactory anchor at the moment of inhalation—a perfumed time-stamp. 

            Of course the world was ending, I said. Everything was always ending. 
October 27, 2021
I stretch into
a shape. Do as I’m told

in plastics. Each mold

is a house
is an ocean but

only now do I know
his death was never some renewable

substance. The whale sank away––

out of contact ... 
October 20, 2021
Launch

codes, we stripped species,
            our insecure
hands of gloves
to crack the test           to our capitalizable
future. Pray
            for the multiverse I’m working on
at midnight.
October 13, 2021
Forgive us. We were waiting
here, in the thickening ice. We worked a long time. Now
we try to give what we found, a little basket
hiding behind each back, full of the young shoots.
They are so green. Mercifully green. We say so. Yes,
they are alive, we say. We, too. We are still sick.
October 6, 2021
Friday night, and you have done the unthinkable. You’ve taken your father’s Jackal Ghost bowling ball from its locked hard-shell case under your mother’s bed—the ball that looks like a purple and black version of the earth, a jackal’s head rising from the swirls—and gone to meet Teddy and Zeke and Evan and Marya, most importantly Marya, for a night of bowling, the game your dead father was obsessed with: the game that, according to your mother, ruins people.
September 29, 2021
new animals are formed by buds
which break off and sink to the bottom
showy outside ray flowers attract insects
and less showy center ones develop into seeds

the bat flies with wings of skin
and sleeps hanging upside down
the great sea tortoises
sometimes live a hundred years
September 22, 2021
The cockatoo
was kept in a kitchen
drawer All her life
           
in a drawer Kept there
by a
What would you call
           
The bird is
bald She plucks
her feathers Her skin

is reptilian
bleeding Parrots
call one another

by distinct sounds My name
means strange stranger
foreign The cockatoo
    
shares it Parrots
August 11, 2021
The property consisted of a small washout pond, several tin structures, and a ranch house with a wraparound porch. The landlord was a tall tan man with silver hair and great big hands, impressive even in his early seventies. He spoke in fast and stuttered rhythms that made me want to clutch the dirt and hang on, but walked at a pace which indicated there was no other place he’d rather be in that moment than with me, touring his property, him explaining to me his rules.
August 4, 2021
I spot wind at the Texas inn where 
my brother plays charcuterie, his head glowing with sweat.

As he peers into the cheese, my oblong sister
offers her face to violent vegetarians

and prognosticates the part about the bison;
indeed, this bison will have denied paradise to us

before we have even eaten. 
July 28, 2021
Sanjay’s stepmother enters the dining room and
his monitoring bracelet records a flutter in his pulse.
Dr. Cameron shows the assistant how he applies
an electrode to the surface of the patient’s brain.
She sees a mountain blow away like it’s sand.
July 21, 2021
“Well, technically batshit,” I’d tell him, and I’d remind him that, seeing as we were trapped in this cave—“Cave?” he’d say, and I’d say, “Yeah, the cave we’re recovering from eye surgery in,” and he’d say, “Oh right”—and that seeing as we’d be thus—“pardon the expression,” I’d say—interred for at least as long as it took to recover, that the cave would be, for all intents and purposes, what we’d have to mean, from here on out, by the word world; and thus bats, who were the only creatures still flitting in and out of the cave’s narrow apertures and thereby participating in the larger ecosystem and importing to an otherwise inhospitable environment the most basic elements needed to sustain life, their excretions would need to be, for the foreseeable future, what we’d have to mean when we’d say sun.
July 14, 2021
And all manner of head swerves.
Three people flew past me, but did not see.
It’s not even clear what happens to the chicken on the bobsled.
 
Trails . . . that slither with their cake.
Will you have more?
May 26, 2021
I remember how, when we got word that it was okay to emerge, my parents opened the front door. My mother was holding an aluminum baseball bat, my father had a shovel. The three of us were in our hazmat suits. (Mine had grown a little taut. I was eleven years old and had gotten taller and rounder.) Our breaths were trapped in our masks.

How long had we been indoors? Time was hard to figure. It had been well over two years. But had it been three?
May 19, 2021
his bright impatiens in their beds, apple trees,
            to which he earlier rose on his cane and leaned

until among their snow blossoms alongside the bees,
            surrounded in floral-sweet fragrance,

from where your father says, And, no one wants you to be
            bitter.
May 12, 2021
Like the ancient glass marked

with fleck and mottle. But O—
her silver likeness. Long forsaken

the mirror: the edges, now light moves
straight through. Shrug or shudder.
 
May 5, 2021
Because they’re in Florida, their position on the terrace is glorified with a gigantic orange ball sinking into serene water, streamers of pink snaking along the blue, the whole thing so … so … validating? And the pelicans! “Look, dude! Pelicans!”

“You can’t shout ‘Pelicans!’ every time we see pelicans. We’re in Florida, babe. There’s tons of pelicans.”

“But that’s the point …” the equestrian’s former friend muses.
April 28, 2021
Fire hurtles past on both sides bubbling black
At the edges. He wakes to a solitary yellow line
Glowing desolation. House truck dog are gone
Evaporated into red sky and patchy earth, snags
Decorate the darkness. Out of his scars grow
Thin buds. Imperfect impermanent incomplete,
He falls back as if falling into a pool, arms out
April 21, 2021
Book thieves as well as purloiners of ancient maps and medieval spell books, whose superficially absurd tactics often belie a mastery of their skill, are both well-known and feared by booksellers and librarians. A list of the various methods and stratagems used to outwit an employee’s vigilance would be endless, and while vendors have certainly come up with more or less effective techniques to stem this scourge, the fact remains that to this day none has managed to catch even a single parenthesis hunter in the act.
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