Each Time We Enter Costco
I cannot help myself. I have to say,
“See that? Free hearing tests!” To which I add,
“Can’t hear me?” He ignores that, so, “Eh? Eh?
What’s that?” His brittle bearing flashes mad.
The cart gets filled in silence. Stuff we do
not need in ludicrous amounts: pintos,
potato chips, a gallon-sized shampoo,
a pound of chili powder, and God-knows
what else. I lag behind. When he’s like this,
I see his father’s thin-lipped pout. Perhaps
he does, too—getting deaf and old as piss,
each year bringing bitter new handicaps.
The young cashier he smiles for. Even she
can hear the creaking of mortality.
starting with a Dickinson line (#113)
Our share of night to bear, our share of morning.
Fade-in: two men trapped in the lair of morning.
A galaxy of stars tessellates the ceiling.
The walls’ shadows foretell our fear of morning
I listen to you talk to creatures in your sleep.
You wake to the hairy-bellied bear of morning.
We look like mummies cocooned under layers.
Do you hear the not-so-subtle jeer of morning?
We listen to the leaves, clattering like shields.
How might we prepare for the war of morning?
It’s how hordes of words lose meaning overnight.
It’s how the phone rings in the blare of morning.
Fade-out: Tex-Mex, tequila, beer-bloated sex.
Oh God, I need coffee, our prayer of morning.
Nothing of Me Will Survive
a cento using only first lines from poems in
Jill Alexander Essbaum’s Heaven
Even as he sleeps, I hear
my body lifted from the fold of yours.
First it is a kiss, and then that strange twine.
I blame you for most of this. The evidence?
This bridge of moon on bended knee above us.
(Imagine me elsewhere and kneeling.)
It’s the devil in me, I suppose.
Every night, it is one drunken orbit after another,
laughter, the grief of happiness.
The blanched dunes and disembodied wells,
everywhere I look is something new to grieve.
It is bone-cold, the night of all betrayed.
Now I think I understand:
If the martyr is made when the breaking heart breaks open,
the answer I seek is one I do not truly wish to know.
This is what’s become of us: I am
at the midnight of our trouble.
It always hurts to be this clean.
Scott Wiggerman is the author of three books of poetry—Leaf and Beak: Sonnets, Presence, and Vegetables and Other Relationships—as well as the editor of several volumes, including Wingbeats: Exercises & Practice in Poetry, Lifting the Sky: Southwestern Haiku & Haiga, and Wingbeats II. Recent poems have appeared in Naugatuck River Review, Red Earth Review, Pinyon Review, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, and the anthologies, This Assignment Is So Gay, Forgetting Home: Poems about Alzheimer’s, and The Great Gatsby Anthology. He is an editor for Dos Gatos Press of Albuquerque, New Mexico.