Poem: “Wishful Thinking”

To avoid you I go to the toilet,
push dust around the cellar, swipe the 
   slick decay
of leaves from the gutter. Nothing revolts you.
You’re so bored you’re falling out of the sky
but persistent as sleet,
not like myself whose Bible stops at January,
page-a-day saved by inertia from Easter.

Sometimes you ask me to lie down in the middle 
   of haste
like a madman’s blanket. Before how many 
will I be thrown down?
Sometimes at dawn I climb the rope with 
   monkey hands
up past fear and gravity, beyond hoarding 
An animal knows how much it can take.
I hoist the weights like a rower, one and 
   the other and one.
Don’t tell me yet what trial this is training for.

You’re the pillow under my head
and over it. You’re the hole in the road
that the gas truck hits, jacknifing into 
   gorgeous flame.
The woods above the highway are dark 
   with bears.
A lost child sees the glow, stumbles back to 
   her parents’ camper.

And what if there were no one pursuing? No storm
to blow my windows out? I could sleep 
   without whispers,
wake without guarding my eyes.
My friend the rational sunshine
says you’re wishful thinking, Santa-Claus daddy
come down through ashes just to indulge me.
Oh, but it’s cold on the roof of my life
under the flashbulb moon,
with no rumors of hooves sharpening above.
No one to know when I’ve been sleeping,
or with whom.

Now that you’ve gone, I won’t look at the shapes 
   of clouds,
dream-beasts that can’t resist your tearing apart.
No face remains; love’s rubbings even unpaint 
   the doll’s cheeks.
Spare me this corner, I said, and you left
the whole field bare
under an endless platter of good weather.
Wishful thinking: that moment darkened by the 
   brush of evening
when the child locked in the toystore wants 
   to be found.

   published in Literature & Belief, Vol. 26.1 (2007)

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