2 by joshua kleinberg
Things We Were, in These Futures I Imagined
We were stranded on miserable islands. The colors were candied,
our style took a hit because we hadn’t wardrobes for those conditions.
There were terrors, and people resembled animals of the eerie variety.
No one came when you rang the bell at this shady broker’s office. No one
cried for our friends and former lovers who died, we didn’t even cry.
I think we were bulletshells deposited in carbuncles of snow.
It seemed like there were protests we agreed with? I made myself
a fool and you the wife of a fool. You were brazen with anyone
who’d have you. I was reckless and cared nothing for the look of it
so long as I was burning with some complaint of the id.
There were sharp odysseys of revelation. New wars. There were
buildings we hated, buildings we came to hate, nods, a new language,
you could even hum in it. There were Polaroids developing all around
like crysanthemums in the air—there we were, in various states of innocence,
happening in front of each other and no one else. And only once did the sun
ever rise on us, and neither of us ever came to know this statistic.
We were given explicit orders and we disobeyed them. We fell off a cliff
like a chain of daisies and fluttered to this fabulous meadow beneath.
I think we were happy there. We had this pile of boulders we called home.
I’d wake to your humming, and I’d pretend to be asleep a little longer.
Poem Without You in It
I can’t bear to be seen by you be not seen by you
Trickling with dyssentery or humming a few bars
Of a dirge you didn’t know yet I can’t bear to be
The holy homunculus little cripple with foresight
Like Flannery O’Connor or Tiny Tim. There are
Ruffles in the bathmats Ruffles on the nightstand
Of your everlasting dream I used to think maybe
I’d be a bachelor forever Kissing was horrifying
Like heaven which I imagined as eternal in this
Spiraling sense I’d say ‘God, I’ll get it if I go to hell
But if I belong by Your gawky chiffon could You
Just blink me out?’ I’ve got photos feeding horses
Photos hugging children approximately my size
I’m gonna be born like that once again some day
A drizzle of clothes a small puddle, and then it’s
A well-behaved baby popping all cute-like from
An un-pit-stained hoodie The harmless smell of
Factory lavender The roosters announcing their
Fierce lives again I had a good day today and you
Weren’t there for it One day, I’ll try to be brave
JOSHUA KLEINBERG lives in New York where he is an MFA candidate in generalized anxiety and ennui.