[from Ange Mlinko's Matinées, Zoland, 1999]
The Difference Between a Ghost and an Angel
Harmless as couples the sense you get from this hiking trail for
natureloving neurologists (their mansions nearby); I touch nothing
as if in one of their living rooms, I've given our fig tree a haircut
for the journey up the street to cheaper digs: ho, there's a desk in the forest!
They say poison ivy trapped under your wedding ring's a common thing but
if I sit at it I'll come out a folksong about couples disappearing in the pines.
The Queen Anne's lace snowy dropped handkerchief of a larger, nameless
staghorn sumac's dirty red; if loving you means I'll have to marry you I'll do it
and suddenly the past is reassured it led to the future
the difference between a ghost and an angel a wilderness
of cat and cat litter, leave dropping, mugs chipping, bottles, cans,
dirty dishes, laundry, garbage pails and dustballs.
You go to bed before me; I am too afraid
to touch things in the woods; but the new light after moving
stimulates blossoms in a flowering houseplant
the mania from the steroid in combination with
red wine, vivarin, tylenol and restoril the sleeping pill
I confess so much sap like the whites of eyes
where I lopped off whole branches made me think
that the tree was hurting, as an ancestor would've.
But since, dark green leaves have revived much and thrived.
In between it was maki, wakame, and red bean ice cream
across from the shark tank, should an evening dress
be make of shark the remora would come with an attachment
patterned like a brake pad to belly up blissfully for a snooze
while the eel looked on, perpendicular to sleep
as passed by the crowd going to the Portuguese saint's day fair; after Mass
and dinner out and Shakespeare didn't blot, so rot, you cop;
we are one under the weather; come eat your sandwich.