Two Poems


A meadow in lime, mirror-flat.
A meadery in Lima churning vats.
Mirror-cold advances from every
man in Hamlet. More of them
with fewer lines is what the Queen
demanded. It's true that Hamlet
was treated pretty badly, like when
his mom called him a poor wretch
just for walking by and reading.
You've got to be cruel to be kind though,
that's the whole thing. Why not indict
a sitting king? My dog's name is Paul, short
for bad policy. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
were cast as hyenas in The Lion King.
My dog's name is Ratio, short for
Horatio. I plan my vacations by airport code.
Sleet in Prague and plagued by sleep.
Unplugged lamps loom over unplowed streets.
I make micro-fleece sheets for a living;
my company's name is Microsoft.
New Haven to Helsinki: HVN to HEL.
Fukuoka, Japan to Omaha, Nebraska: FUK OFF.


A typo, I meant earlier, but apt for a country
that coins terms to match
the goals of its military, a highly weaponized
anything, a place of discounted day-old
baked goods, a stream of As in June
exchanged for movie rentals
or bowling shoes and a basket of jumbo maxi
pads on the counter in the bathroom, just help
yourself. These are the things we aim to protect.
A country with a language like a stop
watch going in a drawer. And my own words
corroborated by that signal. The sky a twist
of rope, fat and wet, weighing down Bowman
Field, past shadows of single-passenger planes
that sting the ground in a fuzz of violet.
My professor, a ring of silver hair circling
his head, told me he wasn't ready to show
his grandchildren monuments that glorified war.
We walked through the National Mall
past trashcans sculpted high with plastic.
A country that organizes its trash
but it's still trash. And in the very best case
it will become trash once again. It's like
how Merwin ended his poem "When the War
is Over"—he said, "We will all enlist again."