Freezing in the gray light, the wind
at our backs like an anchor,
our boat steadies itself against the moon
and the captain’s hand. We tack across the sound
where the scallops are hidden.
We’ve prepared the nets again, patched
and mended our traps,
coiled the thick, sea—green ropes.
Our tongues are still raw from coffee.
We watch the wolf moon, still red, Continue reading
We’d drink until the stars went out, then scrounge
an hour or two of sleep before our shifts
hopping the subway in from Brooklyn, Queens,
jacked up on NoDoz, Yoohoo, vitamins
eyelids sagging like chintz drapery.
The day kept trying to dawn
and finally gave up, as if to say
today has been cancelled
due to lack of photons.
Nothing but wind and cold all
afternoon in the deepening gray
lashing us poor souls below.
At the hour of not quite twilight
the first flakes come down
slantwise like drunken
a spiral staircase to
the bargain basement.
They giggle and collapse on
each other, beginning to pile up.
It may be months before we can
scrape away their costume jewelry.
Kurt Luchs has poems published or forthcoming in Into the Void, Antiphon, The American Journal of Poetry and The Sun Magazine. He placed second for the 2019 Fischer Poetry Prize, and won the 2019 Atlanta Review International Poetry Contest. He has written humor for the New Yorker, the Onion and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, as well as writing comedy for television and radio. His books include a humor collection, It’s Funny Until Someone Loses an Eye (Then It’s Really Funny) (2017 Sagging Meniscus Press), and a poetry chapbook, One of These Things Is Not Like the Other (2019 Finishing Line Press). More of his work, both poetry and humor, is at kurtluchs.com.
This poem was first published in Crosswinds Poetry Journal.
Archeologists found a fossil that captured
ancient insects having sex. It reveals
the mating position customary among froghoppers
about two hundred million years ago. In fact,
the particular sub-species, whose emissaries
had been caught in action, went extinct
but descendants of their close relatives
are still around diligently doing the same thing
in the same way. It’s exciting to learn
how persistent the insectual orientation is!
While its efficacy ought to be respected,
such a strict commitment to a single arrangement
betrays a lack of inventiveness and initiative.
If ever I dream
of the crooked trees
with green around the trunks,
dripping water from their twigs,
I’ve found the spot
for my burial.
up to no good.
how long? how long
will you put up
gold nugget eyes
Before this field blossomed
it was already scented
from fingers side by side
darkening the lines in your palm
the way glowing coals
once filled it with breasts
Everything happens a little more each day.
I’ve had a good time; even my fear has been a twinkling light.
The best place to be is right in the way.
I am sewing my flesh into the costume.
There, in your bed, a warm body bends.
We all like each other in a surprisingly realistic fashion.
A little bit further along to the mass grave and the Tilt-a-Whirl.
Outside, metal bangs against claw.
What a dull needle!
Reach for meaning, step on the sleeping.
Nauseous, a practical girl lay down beside the memorial fountain.
Your date with fate reveals a mutual attraction.