++++
         
         this house is like a face
         I live inside, windows blinking
         on the neighbor’s yard.
         my sister lives
         inside my version
         of a face. her life
         has nothing to do
         with mine, we just
         live here at the same time.
         still, she drinks with me
         beneath the eaves
         where we watch
         the neighbor boy
         blow up
         the evening frogs
         
         ++++
         
         our neighbor boy
         tries to break into
         our house at night.
         he cannot. can not. for my sister
         lets him in.
         he steals Oreos while her pants are down.
         she loves him with a hybrid love,
         half pity, half jailbait fizz,
         though he’s hairy and on
         the dole. she wants to be
         part of him, he’s stuck
         on her. let them be them,
         of and on.
         
         ++++
         
         she and he engaged
         in some sort of
         frog-licking
         ceremony, I guess,
         the poison gets
         you off: you,
         but not your rocks.
         the frog’s got psychedelics
         baked in
         its skin, not much
         of a defense but I guess
         a plus when it comes
         to making reptile
         friends.
         
         I despise the neighbor boy
         and all his pomps.
         but I must admit:
         that kid knew
         his way around a frog.
         
         ++++
         
         later my girl walked
         past the nuked-out TV set heavily
         in thought and
         panties. the neighbor
         boy cranked his go-kart
         up, headed
         for the kitchen and
         a rotting case
         of Schlitz. he stopped
         short when
         he saw my girl
         and instantly
         produced a wheelie.
         
         ++++
         
         don’t start he started
         with his usual
         don’t start I said but
         was forced to do
         the neighbor
         kid. I did him up
         and blew him off though
         we both knew
         he’d be back–reinforced
         by hordes
         of grim-faced
         frogs.
         
         ++++
         
         I admit
         I wander naked through
         the darkened face–ok: I use dreams
         to slip ideas out. fact is
         I don’t always do
         what I think
         about, don’t often think
         it through. the prosecutor said
         you do the same time either
         way.
         
         ++++++++
         
         the house’s head
         is made of
         wind, my basement
         can keep
         nothing down.
         our garbage gleams
         inside flat black
         plastic skin–
         you can see
         the dark bags breathe,
         mostly, weirdly,
         in. long live
         the neighbor kid!
         I killed him
         yesterday
         now sis and I can sit inside
         until the face is all
         filled in.
         
         
         
         
         
MARK CONWAY has written two books of poetry, Dreaming Man, Face Down, and Any Holy City. These poems are from a new manuscript with the working title Fuse. Additional sections from in the white house appeared in The Iowa Review; one stanza is repeated in altered form.