Why, How Do You Pronounce Topher?

The soap bubble someone left on the edge
of the bathroom sink will burst.

I don’t think Emily died
a virgin the way my friend did.
For some (for me),
it’s been 37 years.

And he drowned
in his own pool.

I just swallowed a bitter pill,
literally. No plastic cups
for water and the prices
went up overnight.

I drink the coffee that should taste
18 cents better this morning

and think about wanderlust.
It’s an incurable desire
to run away from home
or to run headlong into it.

To get lost
or found.

Should have known something
was wrong when he said:
“My favorite movie is
Leaving Las Vegas.”

The young woman who cut my hair yesterday
wore a wide-brimmed felt hat

and tattooed sleeves on both arms
to match her long green hair.

I don’t write about them
because of my fear of my fear
of needles. Too chicken to get
the expiration date

stamp I threatened myself with
when I moved northwest. On my hip.

(He knew she was no good
when he saw her expiration date.)

July 27, 1990. August 31, 1991.
October 1, 1992. April 11, 1993.
November 19, 2002. August 27, 2012.
Or just too many dates to pick from.

Misplaced the cartoon
I stole the idea from.
How uncool is that.
And I will never give up

the period—in a text message,
or a handwritten letter, or any kind of text.

maybe a poem occasionally
when no punctuation will do

I could choose the nickname
“My” and pronounce it “Me.”
I could become more self-referential
than the world’s only corn palace.

I could change the pronunciation
of my hometown. No one would know.

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