Spring is here and I’m happy to celebrate poems new and old. My third full-length collection of poems, The Last Girl, will be available later this year. Along with it, the ASP/SFWP consortium is also putting out a new edition of my first collection, Difficult Weather. Below you’ll find a sample poem from each book.
The poem below first appeared in Gargoyle 2013. Many thanks to Richard Peabody for selecting it.
Who, What, When
It’s the same old story. Girl meets boy,
girl thinks, that’s it, but boy is already
mixed up in somebody else’s story, so
girl settles for girl-pal status. She’s
good at that. Two years on, they meet
again at somebody’s sister’s party, but
now the story’s run by her shiny new
wedding ring. A theme emerges,
something to do with time. Resolution’s
unclear. A few years, a new setting,
almost clichéd, the mutual-friends,
out-of-town weekend wedding. She wears
her divorce like a French movie actress.
He’s had a crash course in living outside
of everyone else’s rules. For two nights
and a day, they live what might be
the start of a new story, one they can
scribble together. It looks good
on paper, and good in the photos
after. But boy is already committed
to singing that old, I gotta get down
the road, see what’s around the next bend
story. And girl, although she pretends,
wants someone who’ll stay. You know
the rest — the slow-mo drift, how
they talk every week, every month,
and then not. No reason, you say, to tell
this particular not-quite-a-story story
Except that years later, she who is not
in any sense anymore a girl hears
that the man that boy became is dead.
A quick stroke, then two slow weeks
of the brain’s decline. Perhaps it is
up to you, wise reader, to judge
what kind of a story this is. Why it
should matter, now, to the girl who isn’t,
to the woman who is, and is crying.