In This Version

            there’s an impulse for privacy though I realize

                                    that testimony streams from every delightful

                        opening the body

                                                  has to offer.

                                    Or if the narrator is guilty, so be it.

                 I can tell from your profile

you like hiking, parrots,

                        and you’re afraid of getting old.

                                                I am too. Who isn’t?

                                                Only the young

                                                            who will never

                                                            know what pleasure could

                                                                                    have been.


As if pleasure isn’t

           historical. As if our bodies

  are not

 tightened, thinned,

    or relaxed according to

dictators, bureaucrats, the inventors

                                                of trans fats.

                                                They don’t know            

                                                            what we go through, and defending

                                                                        pleasure kills it

                                                before the judge

                                                            can render

                                                                     a verdict.


                        Farewell, Mississippi, farewell.

                                             If it was a game,

                                             you won, if it wasn’t,

                                                            I’m embarrassed to say

                                                                        you turned me on.

                                                The needless battles, the false posture

                                                                                      of glory, defeat.

                                                                        There was no terrorist

                                                                        among us but you

                                                                                    imagined the worst in everything

                                                                        and took it all down with you.

Two Sarahs

Nor have I ever watched the contrails of jets

            from a palm tree and coral reef resort,

                sequestered on a Caribbean island shaped

            like a common button mushroom

 like Sarah. “It’s never scary for me,” she says.

     When the seagulls congregate

around the thin wrapper of a Snickers bar, the mother

       squawking at her babies, I imagine there must be something gullible

             in the very forms of nature, the way capital flows

                            in the sky—streamlined,

             consistent, if even for the occasional

                   turbulent interlude. Everything versus how

                    we behaved on the ground,

            (looters, robbers, rapists) which is mostly tragic.

        I find the entire plot of land

    guarded by land and wire excessively sorrowful.  Or am

 I mistaken? Is the sky sorrowful and the land

          a funerary urn? Ornate, yet childish, like spoiled little rich girls

                                    who hate each other yet deserve each other

so one wonders why they can’t kiss

            and make up, jump into

                        a cab and go to the party where they’ll meet

                                    more of themselves and drink

                                                the world into drained bank accounts.

And at the moment when the poem

                        becomes most poignant, when the terrifying

           premonition has fulfilled

           the contours of the wish, when all that mattered

                       converged on that one hint, when the poet suddenly realizes

                                     she has slowly

                   and successfully backed away from the cruelty

                          of the sun, she sweetly brings

                              the title back into her poem and says in a whisper

                                   “Two Sarahs,” so that everyone

                                       knows she has won.