“and even you forgot those brilliant flashes seen from afar” -Ruth Stone

Michael Earl Craig

SOMEWHERE OVER GREENLAND

1

Your head makes me think of a watermelon,
or a block of wood or a wooden melon,
on a slender rubber stalk nodding,
nodding, snapping forward with force,
drool on your chin, drool on your shirt,
as pieces of trash move mysteriously
about on the floor between seats,
out into the aisle and back again—
a pamphlet on plantar warts,
a couple wads of cellophane,
some Kleenex, a soda straw followed
a minute later by another,
then a diaper, balled-up diaper,
and then the melancholy odor of balled-up diaper.

A pair of tortoise shell eyeglasses
—folded, immaculate—
come gently vibrating down the aisle,
with sore passengers out for a stretch
stepping carefully over them.
These glasses take one look at me
and begin an awkward four-point turn
to head back up the aisle slowly
to “only God knows where” I say,
when in fact it’s seat 11D.


2

It’s late, can’t sleep, the plane is loud, the plane is cold.
We are somewhere over Greenland.
I look out into the aisle and see a pair of glasses.
The food and beverage carts are moving about.
And sore people. The glasses will get crushed!
But they don’t.
The wheels keep missing them. The heels.
And when it’s quiet again I look down and there they are,
the glasses, in the middle of the aisle.

FIRMAMENTS

The cat chilled out in the basement
sniffing carpet swatches. Auburn nights
required auburn thoughts. The whole
family slept throughout the large house
in each of the many upstairs rooms
with each of their heads hanging
awkwardly over different edges of
their beds. Most aimed at the ceiling.
One aimed at an open window.
And one in one of the colder rooms
was aimed at an opened book that sat
on a dresser in another room.
In someone else’s room.

SHELTER IN PLACE

Snow in yard looks fake
coming down, or maybe
digital, above reality,
staged somehow and moving
slower than snow should.
Big red chairs getting
snowed on, snowed past.
Cinematic. And wet books
on porch getting wetter.
Shit.

You say you like to think
your old bike might talk
to the canoe in the garage
when we’re not there,
that even the dust has
thoughts but it doesn’t.
The garage is a vacuum.
You stir your drink with
your finger, looking almost
walleyed for a sec.

I’ve shaved my beard just
as you start growing yours.
Why don’t we make our own
jigsaw puzzles you say,
before we sit down to work
on them? I reach over and stir
your drink with my finger
as loads of ennui course quietly
from one cold end of
the house to the other.

DOCTOR FAUCI

Through the garden he moves
like a flesh and blood C-3PO,
the last man standing
or one of three living people

okay 17 but
of them he’s one of
only three still gardening
and he does not have a mask on.

He goes up lane 7 because
he calls all bean rows “lanes”
with a metal watering can
making little gestures with its spout,

tiny intuitive decisions for things
like beans and cucumbers,
up one lane down another
with no one to hump or to hug—

methodical turns of the wrist
of the wrist of the wrist—
shuffling casually toward sainthood
and compost.

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Michael Earl Craig is the author of Woods and Clouds Interchangeable (Wave Books, 2019), Talkativeness (Wave Books, 2014), Thin Kimono (Wave Books 2010) and others. Read more

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