Lifetime Guarantee
With a 100% plastic voice
-controlled drone you could dim the lights—
no need to even get up
                                     You could order
your service object around from the couch
while your non-dominant hand places,
chips in your mouth
The Lady’s Plantar Fasciitis Cozy Slippers
with the plush, faux-shearling-crusted mouths
would set your wife to contented
toe-wiggling, they promise
                                              The last time
she smiled she had her own teeth. Must have been
in ’94, Christmas or thereabouts,
and that day at the Shore
                                        my god, how old
did you used to be, toasting shoulders under
that free-range sun like you two would never
need a thing from anyone—
                                                        What you need now
is The Caller Announcing Large View
Telephone. Those oversized buttons
are tender at least
                              like the glance of the hand of
Freddy Judson’s mom, the piano teacher, on your arm,
with her high-collared blouse and her divorce
and light rebukes—
                                  One swallow don’t
make a summer
                           —folks used to say that
stuff. Her honeyed tones are gone like Brach’s
Chewy Cordials or the refugees stumbling painstakingly
across a hot fresh war—where did the screen just say
they were?
                      They’ve been replaced
by a lady in too much rouge who wants you
to get yours today
Green and slender, “Instant Fully Decorated” means
it comes that way.
                              Way back in ’48, you under-
stood, watching your dad and brother, their same hats
             bobbing in time to their breaths and the axe’s
            as the snow scuttled down from the branches,
            rising off their backs in time, in time,
            the blood beat in your throat, in time, you would
not be a man like that
Those Moments Were Historical
The past was different.
We lived in a loud place.
There was light sometimes
and water in a jar. It was always late
and everybody breathed
like the walls of the dark around us.
I think we thought we could be
stained with fluorescence and held
up to the beam and no one
discover a pixel of sin on us
back then. I have betrayed the dead
by changing, my ancestors
so foreign and so short.
What would it take to tell them
how to touch the screen,
tell them how the contract says
they have to take my feeling for the law?
There is no way
to argue with them now:
the rivers have all dried up
in that part of the country,
and nobody’s left
the party yet
to start putting crap in an album, so
we might get lost. Dear
end of my line,
how near you stand,
but the night is the color of
stubbornness and no harsh chord
can wake you, pale behind this pane
of flame.
You won’t see me again.