Arsenic Lobster poetry journal Issue Forty
Spring 2016
Museum of the Departed
       —for Capron Meyers (1977-2015)

Michael Robins

When you are a face & slipping this & that way
apart, when a trench replaces again a thought
out of which jokes rise, laughter to be exact
& sharp, closing on the skin. Como se dice

my bag ripped, shattered a tall jar of olives,
ordinary loss startling, nudged oncoming
& sudden this way. Listen to the words, actors
done or everyone leaning in regret too well

& it’s trying to bluff us inevitably as Lucy
yanking the ball Charlie rushes for that kick,
swings instead through air. What goes up
makes many splendid views from then & there

where the cold satellites float on their faces
looking down, us little ones with a mortal bug
touched, staring back. I looked from that height
years away, so specific days become decades

hardly visible now for the fog, some speck
once noted &, once viewed, unavoidably
darkening our room. In this corner dandelion,
damnation of all dreaming things possible

still removing my jacket under the heat then
laying out to deny a beloved’s feet their puddle
who am I kidding, chivalry, dilly-dallying
then eating it too. Let me try this again, this

notion like sleep that no more keeps a friend
or foe, the black & white beagle everyone says
needs put down. The dreaming chews gum,
with another’s phone takes pictures, with some

scrambles in upright ways to tear the goalposts
free. You taught me to strum down down up
up down & we talked such good shit. I’d say
these things no longer matter if I didn’t better

know the ache toting groceries home. It’s over
but it’s been fun, fingerings under the door
& expecting its latch to hold as I hold the moon
waxing as you die, now its Christmas fullness

much less so without you singing to rivers,
body that could’ve rung anywhere but chose to
here, might for all we know surface yet alive,
might be the earth, oxygen & dirt, ir-re-fucking-

placeable. The pine trees prefer their roots
not show & never wonder how an ending comes
or that the sky bears a pall if the pall dampens
winter, its musty sweater when the furnace

burns through its fuel. It doesn’t make much,
much sense, yellow bird to flutter a lifetime
not so often the one you think or wanted,
preferring instead to cut the rug past dawn,

days crawling before they toddle the curb,
grass & sidewalks near little flags to let us know
what’s buried underneath. Limb & blossom,
leaving when finished so others might sit

one by one hurrying with the honeycomb
knocked forever from its branch, small home
in the eaves. In mumbling weather & patter
all lines lead to last in line, linens lead to what

I offer awake, light of the open fridge an hour
& two. My friend is dead, won’t pretend the sun
burst through the rain, won’t the easy image
making meaning as there’s none, no why

alongside silence in this horseshit debate,
this horseshit, this horseshit when Linus wants
his blanket over the shoulder, lost but once
before lifting a thumb out of here. The caption

lands where no compadre reads it yet the day
still says hello, remains calm, finds vistas
hard to say & half introduces each stranger
by the name of he who became the shadow,

photograph, the lately emptied bar. These
& other voices come to me, shaking my hand,
tugging my heels. I’d like memory to wake him
tonight, drive for the horizon kind of thing

saying hello to San Francisco, hello Oakland
traffic ugh. I don’t know water well or why
acceptance must finish grief. Here I want
my friend swirling old in conversations,

waiting as I stop to tie my shoes or strum
down down up, up down, down down up
up down in the burning day. I want to trust
broken bodies ripple in new, wondrous places.

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