Night after night, talking on the phone,
we give over to a crackling, a circuitry, a crux

the ceiling fan stirs up into the scree
that proves all electricities are one, and one

of us says I can’t hear you just a minute
but the talking heats back up and one of us says

hang on and pulls the chain again,
tail of brass beads of our petrified sweat

dangling from this diced heaven
we are punished to,

then one of us says the wall and one
says oh ok the wall, it’s the wall

of tiredness but also the skin walls
coming back around us like silly costumes we still

agree to wear then somebody says
oh what costume is that and someone

mentions boas or suspenders or a hoop or pantaloons
pantaloons! that’s the word of the day

I haven’t heard the word pantaloons for years I love
that you use the word pantaloons my requisite darling

and one says requisite oh you are so very requisite tonight
and someone says you’re pretty diffuse yourself lately

diffuse? I mean diverse as in all of your selves
that have shown up this evening which has turned

quite terribly away from the sun once again
until even this stalwart candle chokes on its wick

so we are talking in a darkness tinged with smoke
obscuring the vector from your house to the ersatz satellite to mine

and someone whispers the universe thing
works better you know

than trying to fix this
I do better yeah I know we’ll just ask the universe

to make for us a way or a job or an army
what’s that you mean you haven’t even seen the films

it’s not bad I could read you the whole saga
read me something anything I don’t care what it is

we talk about I just like

are you asleep oh no I’m not yes I think you were just now no
I’m just resting my eyes and listening to your voice

 
 
Photo by gudka

Robin Behn

ROBIN BEHN teaches in the MFA program at University of Alabama. Her fifth book of poems, Quarry Cross, is just out from Plume Editions/MadHat Press, and her new anthology for young writers, Once Upon a Time in the 21st Century: Unexpected Exercises in Creative Writing, is just out from U of Alabama Press. Listen to her band perform the music-poems from Quarry Cross, watch a new opera based on Behn's libretto, and see her visual artist collaborators' work at robinbehn.com

Latest posts by Robin Behn (see all)