Poetry Archives Bio
April 22, 2018
3:03 AM
Island Poems: The Completist

To Sophie Grace Shields

The men in this town wear an awful lot of denim.
Many have coats and jackets like hunting camouflage.
A man has a tattoo of a girl with pink and round breasts.
He seems the kind of man to turn off the music and
Listen to rumbling engines for a greater truth.

The ferry is laden. It looks as if it might sink.
A priest in a black frock moves to a lower deck,
Averts catastrophe. The diver in the oven mitts
Hangs from the ceiling, and the punk kids in the row in front,
They talk of nothing but witchcraft and power stones.


The people on this boat are all quite good and trusting folk.
The windows on each side, they act like magnifying glass.
Two women kiss and take a photo on the deck.
The whitehaired elders eat their breakfasts with much relish.
The rain gets old—oh, sure—but not the ocean, never.

It is a lovely day. The street is full of birdsong and
The air is filtered through with aromatic smoke. The rain
Taps gentle feet upon the slanted roof. The light,
It falls in place into the smallish room. I'm shrugging
Off my lust, assembling a menagerie of you.


The bedframe rises from the ground on stalky feet,
The spreadsheet notwithstanding, as the trader tells his friend,
"If you don't buy it now, you will have cold feet forever."
The classically schooled mortician taps his baton,
And we're off to the races (but do not hold your breath).

In Kilroy's serif'd eyes, all history's erasèd.
His mind is mush, it makes no sense—not any more than time,
Or chicken feet and cattle bones delivered to the house,
Or all the trees whom S&Ms in lights the woman
Whose profession is to bring in discount frankincense.


The Japanese seismograph does not move an iota.
It has no calibration to detect half-whispered talk
In the darkness, or the talk and footsteps from above,
Or how not to give a fuck (a lesson badly learned).
"YOU PIECE OF SHIT; IT'S NOT ABOUT THE FUCKING TRUCK."

Oh, but it is, when on the day that a small sparrow burred
Into a speeding Ford and ricocheted off—puddle, dead—
I have a nightmare: I receive death threats at work from
A woman spurned by me—here is, again, an offering,
Torn to shreds (perhaps for food), only a foot re—