Tuesday, July 25, 2017


for Mindy Mastruserio

Blood above the bed after a near-week of late-August is brown
and the jellied bits of brain too are brown
and the smell is tended with paper plates of cat litter here and there
and a loud fan in the window not oscillating
There are stained photos on a shelf in the closet
and prescription bottles all over and dirty silverware
I don't know what to do with the sheets but pull them into a plastic bag
and turn the mattress and gag

There is traffic and commerce and couples meeting for drinks still
Flights still leave on the hour for Paris, Barcelona, Reykavic
Tokyo is out there with its bullet train
I will fall in love and marry, but not for years yet
I will never lose this smell
I will go tracking it through friends' apartments
To Austin, St. Louis, and Portland

I will cross the Rockies by jeep and the wind will not blow it away
I will drink away an afternoon thinking only of baseball
And still there will be a speck of it
A whole cosmos one-zillionth the size of this one
but always there stained brown
even in the blank sky of summer nights at home
no flickering moment of memory is heavier
more jagged at its edges and more corrupted

What does Kierkegaard say about love? Or Peter Cetera?
We are to carry it and breathe it in, bathe in it like the waters of our births,
To know it as complex as a premonition of death
This is the task we have been set
by philosophy and by pop music
This is the stuff of art that matters

This is despair, I guess
This is love.

--Kristofer Collins

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