Way Before Daffodil

Cradled between merry-go-round
and satellite,
the first words
he would say to her
were an insult
wrapped inside
an error becomes erotic
presumption blanketed
with snotty affection.

Is it a deep blue
sleeveless floral button-down baby

doll dress
with a collar, or

a maternity
jumper? Didn’t your mother
teach you

it isn’t

polite to ask
if a woman is

knocked-up? To her face?
As she dances? To your music?
Damn, boy! Is it mine? Just you wait and see.

The Last Daffodil, Or How to Become Famous Inside the Take No Heroes Hotel

The window
seat is the aisle
seat. It’s too damn small. Claustrophobia

can be triggered
at any moment. Am I
the only one

who heard you
expose that moment

a young woman jumps
off

a moving
merry-go-round
to change her life? An island known

for brass rings. But now it’s the back
of a larger jet, not
a bus. And the word

turbulence is a curse. Gravel
roads and potholes
in the sky over

Ohio and Wisconsin. No,
it must be the Great
Lakes. Each

and every one. And rivers
that flow too slowly

or not at all. You belted out
the question:

“Is it Mine?” There was nothing

there to be yours
yet. When there was,
you didn’t want it.

(Did I?) And then
it was gone. Name it. Go

ahead. Name.

It. I

dare you. And

I will not offer
suggestions. And

once named, you can
forget it—me. Yeah,
thought so. Descending

over the Mississippi, a landing
so smooth.

Daffodil

No matter how many transfers
I pluck off

the ground, she will never
kiss me

on the bus
again. Valid

for 2 ½ hours. Time’s
up. Dirt on the magnetic

strip. Invalid

for life. How lame
that I am still limping

after all these years. Again,
I forget

who she is—Daffodil
or some lesser lily

of the field. Face validity
will do. Fingerprints

everywhere. I do know she’s no longer
made of glass.

The Mats at Midway Tonight

I’m going to start
wearing a money
belt to pretend

I’m traveling
in a foreign
country. Wide enough

to hold
a passport
and a spleen

in case mine needs
to be removed.

I would keep it
so I could still vent.

No one will accuse me
of being passive

aggressive. Where am I
going tonight?
Saint Paul. You never know.

Will have to cross
the Mississippi, you know.
Maybe, you don’t.