Check the double D batteries of the trove of flashlights in the pantry closet because more than three-quarters don’t work
and the high winds violently whipping outside—will knock out the electricity again.
Bring the rotting, termite-infested birchwood logs (the neighbor’s eldest grandson split for twenty bucks last weekend) from the backyard.
Stack the wood by the kitchen heater, so yesterday’s snow-encasement can dry in time.
Next, boil water to fill the seven, various-sized thermoses from the top cabinet for coffee in the morning
so you can step from the dream world—first cup, one step; second cup, second foot hits the hard tiled floor
with some anomalous certainty.
Then you’ll be human again, albeit petrified
that the beloved you parted with (without even a gesture or facial expression of goodbye) in the previous world
shall forever abandon you.
If you bite the hand that feeds, you might just get that desired reaction to desire
but you’ve forgotten—
desire has taken her footsteps through the sequence of doors
left with the Arctic chill winding down the pot-holed, gaping street and back again—
a vile boomerang.
Others might feel this at least some of the time though they can’t admit it, articulate
something that isn’t a paycheck.
Don’t eat your sister, you tell the cat lurching
perched beneath the persnickety yellow bird, preening her puffed-up feathers.
Similarly, you shouldn’t touch me.
Now the body bruises with the slightest intersection of an object or person (not meaning to hurt, to deride).
The cigarettes are buried in the closet, the penultimate junk drawer, the bathroom linen closet, your probing, wide eyes that collect painful souvenirs.
Once you come to terms with the terms you created haphazardly
not because you are conveniently indifferent but rather lazy, tired, or bored—
depending on the hour of the day—
I can assure you, you’ll be much happier and more enjoyable to those who used to adore you.
Time, unprecedently more amorphous and untranslatable of late, has opened an elastic world stretched across a vast, square wooden loom
where the city inhabitants gather at the thick perimeter to hold the elastic (the world, essentially, in place)
while they take turns on an arduous pilgrimage to the center—
to trampoline, if very lucky (chances worse than winning tonight’s lottery) to infinity, the afterlife—
most of them suppose.
The others just want to have some animal fun, a hobby, pleasurable exercise, or to piss off the others not-so-patiently waiting to have a go.
Take note: not all games were designed to justify our performances.