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Alone he waited in dimness, studied smooth wooden walls and traced their polished patterns.

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and there is no climbing up/ to any height, and the sun/ is cloaked by cloud,

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Should I have shooed the cats from my bed? Shaken awake the silky tangle of feline true love curled at my feet? Shut their bedroom door against them? Perhaps, maybe, I don’t know.

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everything plus zero stays the same

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“Your sister is a slut,” said Ma to me over supper.

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Accept that your husband's heart always belonged to his first love. You should've noticed sooner because she works in your building and won't look you in the eye. She takes the stairs because you ride the elevator.

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I told mamma I was leavin’ you –/ you and your hard drinkin’, devil/ writin’ ways,

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your mania for sentences / has dried up your heart


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"You are not a vintage radio. Not even close."

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There's no surcease from heat, no "cool of the evening," like the songs say about summer in the South. Those songwriters sat under fans in the Brill Building in downtown Manhattan.


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They lie down in the prairie grass and clutch each other, imagine dying under fat clouds.

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Christmas Eve, 1989, I had dinner with John Updike.

The Birds

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My wife goes away for a few days to the little town where Hitchcock filmed The Birds. Her sister goes along. When she comes back, I ask her if she had a good time, and she says no.